The TOGA Annual Membership Meeting

was held January 25 at VIMS Gloucester Point.

The meeting opened with the leading youth writing

contestants reading their essays. Congratulations to the writers.

Winners of the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association Middle School Writing Contest got the chance to read their winning essays during the group’s annual meeting on Saturday at VIMS. TOGA president, Terry Lewis is shown here with students Hannah Davis, Lucie Cox, Finley Payne and Ben Goetz, from left. Photo by Charlie Koenig

Please click here for the Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal Article about the meeting and results of the Youth Writing Contest including the winning essays.

The writing contest session was followed by the TOGA business discussion including financials, election of the 2020 Board of Directors, the invited educational speakers and the share-a-dish social at the end.

The new Board-

President:                                   Terry Lewis  

Vice President:                           Doug Schaefer  

Treasurer:                                   Brian Ingram  

Secretary:                                   Carl Zulick

Past President:                           Mike Saunders  

At large members:                      Lou Castagnola  

                                                   Ken Hammond  

                                                   Terry Halkyard

                                                   Ken Paugh

President Emeritus:                    Brian Wood (elected for life)  

Not elected-

President Emeritus/Engineer:    Vic Spain  

VIMS Advisor:                            Karen Hudson  

President Emeritus:                   Jackie Partin (inactive) 

Past board members Charles Yarbrough, Bobby Morgan and Jennifer Palazzo were honored for their service. Also volunteer Laura Todd was thanked for her pioneering work on the Statford Hall Wine and Oyster Festival and her support of LUCEE (Longwood University Camp for Environmental Exploration).

The education portion of the meeting featured Dr. Stan Allen, Professor and Director of the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center (ABC) at VIMS. The ABC hatchery currently operates the most extensive breeding program for oysters in the U.S., and arguably the largest in the world. Stan, with the assistance of Karen Hudson, held a "fireside chat" about the course of his career. Stan shared his perspectives and vast experience on oyster aquaculture locally, and beyond.
VIMS director of Development Susan Maples then gave an update on the status of the TOGA VIMS Fellowshio Endowment. As of September 30, 2019, the book value was $152,285,90, with a market value of $182,185.92. To date, ten students have received a TOGA fellowship. Susan "thanked the members present for their support of the fellowship through TOGA and for the individual gifts members make. As you know, this fellowship is an investment in research that benefits oysters and our waterways in Virginia and around the world." So you know you are doing a great service when you donate to the endowment and purchase or help build TOGA oyster floats (proceeds to the endowment).​

Susan then introduced the two most recent recipients of the Endowment, PhD candidates Joey Matt and Kristen Prossner. Please click here for the Winter 2019 Newsletter. See page 2 for their personal stories about their work and studies at VIMS.

TOGA President Terry Lewis estimated there were approximately 120 attendees including all sessions. He said some of the oyster stew served later was the best he has tasted.

Thanks to all who attended.