Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association Master Oyster Gardener Course

The 2020 Master Oyster Gardeners Course is Going Virtual

It’s no surprise that the pandemic postponed the two-day Master Oyster Gardeners Course originally scheduled for June of this year.  The VIMS campus remains closed to visitors so rather than wait until 2021, the decision was made to forge ahead by transitioning the course to virtual /remote learning. The course, typically held on 2 concurrent Saturdays, is being broken up into “bite-sized” remote learning modules no longer than 2 hours each which will be spread out over time during the weekdays.  If you were interested in attending but the Saturday scheduling and travel didn’t work for you – now is your chance.  Scheduling, slated for mid-late September, will be a bit more challenging but live offerings will be recorded for those who can’t make it.  We’ll still be interacting, albeit virtually, with the benefits of less information overload, the ability to spend more time discussing fundamental content, and having a digital archive of materials for reference.  The hands-on laboratories so critical to this course will be postponed to a date when the class can reunite.  We still ask that interested TOGA members apply for the course which you can do through this online link:  https://forms.gle/GJkAkaG8wYxxUcXH8 or by contacting Karen Hudson directly (khudson@vims.edu).  The chosen platform is Zoom videoconferencing and more details on the modules and schedule will be coming soon.  We have several slots still available so don’t delay!         

                                                                                                                            --Karen Hudson, VIMS

About the Master Oyster Gardener Course

Virginia Institute of Marine Science Gloucester Point, VA

Please use the instructions at the top of page for specifics about the 2020 course.

Expand your knowledge of oyster gardening and become a valuable resource in the oyster gardening community!

Cost - attendees are asked to pay a modest $40 fee to cover food and beverages. The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund (a.k.a. the License Plate Fund) is covering the cost of course materials.  
Purpose & History - to provide a steady stream of highly trained volunteers who can lead TOGA's outreach mission. The first Master Oyster Gardener (MOG) course was held in 1998 and graduated nineteen enthusiastic MOGs. Nine further courses have been held in subsequent years each with roughly 15 to 20 students.  
What do MOGs do? - MOGs lead TOGA's outreach mission through their dedicated volunteer service.  Opportunities include newsletter or website support, assisting oyster gardeners, outreach events, float building, research projects, special committees and board membership.  


Instruction - is covered by a variety of knowledgeable experts including VIMS faculty and staff, State officials, and experienced  a mix of classroom and hands-on learning with lots of time for discussion.   
Content - generally consists of basic oyster gardening skills; oyster biology and life history; oyster diseases; understanding the various "critters" that live around oyster gardens; and the regulatory and human health issues surrounding oyster gardening.   Attendees will also get a start-to-finish look at the oyster cultivation process at the VIMS oyster hatchery.   
Applicant Criteria  -   Have a VMRC oyster garden permit.  Agree to attend the course in its entirety.   Have been growing oysters for a minimum of one year.    Commit to helping TOGA respond to questions from gardeners.  Be willing to assist with at least 3 TOGA events or activities.  
Interested, curious and have questions?  

 Karen Hudson, VIMS, khudson@vims.edu, (804) 684-7742

 Terry Lewis, TOGA President, lewistmn@msn.com, 804-693-2687

 Doug Schaefer, TOGA VP, subiceguy@hotmail.com, 804-580-1456

 Vic Spain, President Emeritus/Engineer, vicspain@rocketmail.com, 804-642-6764