top of page

TOGA Annual Membership Meeting
Was held In-Person and via Zoom 
on January 21, 2023  |  1 - 4 p.m.
For the PDF of the meeting slides, click here

All motions presented below were passed by membership vote.


Announcing The Annual TOGA Membership Meeting:

Saturday, January 21, 2023, at VIMS


Doug Schaefer, TOGA President and

Karen Hudson, Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Specialist, Marine Advisory Program, VIMS



TOGA’s Annual Meeting will take place live and in person (with an online option) at Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Gloucester Point, Virginia. To facilitate the process, you may pre-register for the event beforehand and will gain access to some of the materials that would ordinarily be handed out on the meeting day. The meeting will include two main sections: TOGA’s business meeting, and the educational content. The business meeting component consists of the TOGA Treasurer’s report, the Annual Event Roundup, 2023 Goals, and the Election of Officers. The educational portion will feature TOGA endowment recipient Matthew LaGanke.

Sorry but the Acuff Center for Aquaculture tours mentioned previously will not be available at this time. Some systems are temporarily shut down so there is not much to see.


All are welcome: Membership is not required to attend. Although non-members are welcome, we ask you to wear a name tag (provided). Membership dues will be accepted at the event.


Meeting Agenda

1:00 –1:30 pm Check-in, meet with agency representatives (VMRC and VDH), and informal Q&A with experienced Master Oyster Gardeners.


1:30-2:00 p.m. TOGA’s Middle School Writing Contest winners. Readings of the winning essays, followed by presentations to the winners and their parents or guardians.


1:45 – 2:00 pm BREAK with light refreshments


2:00 pm  Agency Updates for Gardeners

  • VMRC

  • VDH / Shellfish Safety

2:20 – 3:00 pm TOGA Business

  • Treasurer’s report (Brian I.)

  • 2022 Highlights/ Annual event roundup

  • 2023 Goals

  • Election of Officers


3:00 – 4:00 pm EDUCATION

  • Keynote address by Thomas Kellum, a partner with W. E. Kellum, Inc, a fifth family generation oyster processing company located on the Rappahannock River

  • TOGA Fellowship Endowment update by Susan Maples, Director of Development, VIMS

  • TOGA Fellowship Endowment Student, Matthew LaGanke, a Master’s Student focusing on applied research in shellfish aquaculture


4:00 – 5:00 pm Potluck oyster dishes and snacks


Proposal for Bylaws Changes to be presented at the TOGA Annual Meeting for vote by members:


By-Laws Change #1


                 Section 4. The Executive Board shall consist of the elected officers of the Association, the Past President of the Association, the President Emeritus, the President Emeritus/Engineer, the President Emeritus/Education, the President Emeritus/Youth Participation, and six members -at-large. All of these positions will have full voting privileges.





Section 4. The Executive Board shall consist of up to 20 directors, including the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Past President. All directors will have full voting privileges.


 By-Laws Change #2


 Section 1. Office and Term of Office


c.  President Emeritus or Director Emeritus status may be bestowed on past or present presidents or directors who have given above and beyond normal expectations to the organization. Such status is proposed by the Board and an individual can be elected to such a position at the annual membership meeting.       Once elected, these individuals maintain voting rights on the Board for life.



Section 1. Office and Term of Office


Eliminate item c. on President Emeritus or Director Emeritus status from the By-Laws. This should be revised and become part of the TOGA’s Policies and Procedures.



President Emeritus or Director Emeritus status may be bestowed on past or present presidents or directors who have gone

above and beyond normal expectations to the organization. Emeritus status is voted by the Board of Directors. In addition, the Nominating Committee will give preference for TOGA Emeritus members to be invited to be on the Board of Directors slate of candidates that is elected annually. When nominated by the Board to the slate and elected by membership, emeritus directors will have voting rights on the Board.


Proposal for Dues increase for member vote on at the Annual Meeting:

It is recommended that the TOGA annual membership dues be increased to $25.00


Rationale for Dues Increase:

After reviewing current and future financial needs of the organization, the TOGA Board of Directors is proposing raising the Annual Membership Dues (last set in 2014) from $15.00 to $25.00 starting in 2023. This dues increase will help to accommodate increased costs such as increase in prices for printing of newsletters and materials, postage, website upgrades, and more. In addition, it will assure that we can continue to provide outstanding programs and services to you.


Slate of TOGA Board of Director Candidates for 2023:

President:                    Sue Borra

Vice President:             Mark Besore

Secretary:                    Carl Zulick

Treasurer:                    Brian Ingram

Past President:            Doug Schaefer

Directors at Large:      

  • Lou Castagnola   

  • Ken Hammond

  • Russell Mait

  • Carlton McFaden

  • Richard Siciliano

  • Kent Eanes

  • Terry Lewis, President Emeritus

  • Mike Sanders, President Emeritus

  • Vic Spain, President Emeritus

  • Brian Wood, President Emeritus











We are happy to announce that Tommy Kellum, Partner, W. E. Kellum, Inc., will be our keynote speaker.

Success Through Stakeholder Cooperation-

Thomas (Tommy) Kellum is a partner with W. E. Kellum, Inc, a fifth family generation oyster processing company located on the Rappahannock River in Virginia. He serves on the Virginia Marine Resources Shellfish Advisory Committee, was a member of the Virginia Blue Ribbon Oyster Panel, as well as the Virginia Oyster Heritage Foundation. Tommy is Vice President of The Virginia Seafood Council, is a past VIMS Council board member, and serves on the board of directors for Chesapeake Bank and Chesapeake Financial Shares.

Susan R. Maples, Director of Development,

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary





The Tidewater Oyster Gardeners (TOGA) Fellowship, established to support students researching shellfish and Chesapeake Bay ecological restoration at William & Mary’s School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), is providing support for M.S. student Matt LaGanke. Focusing on applied research in shellfish aquaculture, LaGanke’s work centers on improving production, increasing efficiency, and sharing knowledge about the benefits of shellfish farming and the services it provides. As of September 30th, the book value of the TOGA Fellowship Endowment was $189,962.12, and the market value was $168,692,82. To contribute to this fund, contact VIMS Director of Development Susan Maples at 804-684-7846 or



Introducing the 2020 Recipient of the


Fellowship Endowment:

Matt LaGanke





Hello TOGA members. Thank you so much for selecting me for the TOGA Fellowship. I’m incredibly honored to receive this amazing financial support to continue learning at VIMS.


My passion for the marine world dates back to my childhood, rooted in fond memories of snorkeling with my grandfather along the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Drifting over shallow seagrass habitat while tightly holding on to his hand, we’d collect a diverse assortment of mesmerizing invertebrates – horseshoe crabs, surf clams, whelks, urchins, crabs – to bring back to shore and curiously investigate each critter. My grandmother, a science teacher of 27 years, later gifted me an open-water SCUBA certification to continue exploring the marine world, but from a perspective below the waterline. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2015, where I was fortunate to put my certification to good use. My undergraduate diving experiences culminated in multiple incredible trips to the Great Barrier Reef while studying abroad in Australia for a semester – an unforgettable experience that I’m so thankful for.


After my undergraduate degree, my research campaign began in the benthic ecology lab at UNCW where I drew upon my childhood curiosities while examining marine invertebrates from coastal marsh ecosystems under the microscope. From this lab, I sought to incorporate my scientific and diving pursuits through a more field-focused position as an oyster biologist for two years in Apalachicola, Florida for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission focused on conserving the Apalachicola Bay oyster reefs. Through the lens of my scuba diving mask, I witnessed firsthand the disappearance of the Bay’s oyster population. I gained a profound perspective on the decline of a wild fishery and the subsequent ecological, cultural, and economic impacts on the surrounding coastal community.


My research at VIMS focuses on helping growers manage their inventory through novel tracking systems and predicting containerized oyster growth. With the great uncertainty associated with shellfish farming, an inventory system that can provide for more proactive, instead of reactive, management could increase farm efficiency and production.


My project examines the feasibility of integrating Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, an inventory tracking technology prevalent in land-based industries, to semi-automate crop management. The second part of my research investigates the predictability of oyster growth to understand how long growers should wait before splitting and thinning oysters into lower densities. As most growers will admit, leaving oysters too long is a common mistake. It often results in a chock-full bag with a higher proportion of misshapen oysters, which exhibit dichotomous growth due to position in the bag and likely higher than normal mortality. This equates to reduced operational efficiency, increased labor costs, and lower oyster value. The combination of enhancing inventory tracking and predicting oyster growth aims to provide growers with better data to make more informed decisions.


I’m currently a second year MS-Bypass student intending to complete my PhD by 2026. Thanks again for your support, and I look forward to discussing my research on January 21st. Happy holidays!


~Matt LaGanke, M.S.

Screen Shot 2022-05-15 at 6.11.34 PM.png
Tommy Kellum Photo.jpg

Thanks to Celia Cackowski, Vims Marine Education Specialist, friend and mentor to TOGA.


Thanks to Karen Hudson, VIMS Advisor, for managing the program, teaching and all that she does for TOGA.

bottom of page