Teaching volunteers invaluable skills that will help them produce their own sustenance, utilize a variety of tools for common home and garden projects, and observe proper environmental practices for the rest of their lives.

Internships are open to enrolled S.T.A.T.E. volunteers only

Shellfish Restoration Project

(2-4 hours per week in May; 6-8 hours a week from June-August; return to seed the bays in the fall)

Did you know that one oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day? Slightly less than three quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, and with this about 70% of the oxygen we breathe on a daily basis is generated by marine plants and phytoplankton. The point is that our waters are very important, however there are still many areas that have poor water quality and are heavily clogged with pollutants, algal blooms, bacteria, and excess nutrients, which all deplete oxygen. Shellfish are huge contributors to improving water quality and keeping our waters clean.

Our Shellfish Restoration Efforts will Occur with 2 Organizations:

  1. The Stony Brook Yacht Club (SBYC) is continuing its mariculture program for the 2019 season, and is run by the Stony Brook Mariculture Committee (SMC). The SMC, composed of members of the SBYC, has proposed and successfully established a shellfish aquaculture program with the intention of improving water quality, promoting the health of the tidal wetlands, and to reintroduce stocks of cultured species for restoration purposes. Going into its ninth year, the mariculture program has designed various methods and techniques to rear shellfish species. Specifically, eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and hard shell clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) will be raised and then dispersed into Stony Brook Harbor and adjacent waterways. By rearing oysters and clams we hope to replenish shellfish populations and to create cleaner bays.
  2. Dr. Christopher Gobler and Mike Doall of Stony Brook University (SBU) are performing a shellfish oriented research project in Conscience Bay. Their goals are to assess the suitability of Conscience Bay for filter feeding bivalves. This is occurring in three phases: 1. Doing benthic (bottom) surveys, 2. Oyster and juvenile clam growth experiments, 3. Environmental monitoring. Eastern oysters and hard shelled clams will be grown via floating bags on the surface of the water and cages that rest on the bottom of the bay. The team is hoping to raise enough shellfish to improve water quality in a body of water that experiences algal blooms and to create an oyster reef in the long term.

We are looking for a team of 10 volunteers to do weekly checks and maintenance on cages, record growth data, monitor water quality data, and to raise the oysters from spat throughout the field season. Seed from spat and cages will be supplied for STATE volunteers, who will be responsible for the following:

  • Sorting and selection of seed
  • Positioning oyster grow cages in intertidal/beach areas
  • Preparing clam rafts and seeding them
  • Adding seed to mesh grow bags
  • Regular sorting and cleaning of cages/rafts
  • Monitoring and inspecting cages for predators and/or fouling organisms, and removing them
  • Monitoring water quality parameters
  • Dividing oysters to prevent overcrowding and add to more cages
  • Cleaning, repairing, and removing oyster cages for storage at the end of the growing season
  • Move gear, equipment and shellfish following the growing season
  • Distributing shellfish throughout Stony Brook Harbor (via boat)

More Information: We will be meeting at the Stony Brook Yacht Club beach once a week and we will be kayaking (~10-15 mins each way) to the Conscience Bay site from Setauket Harbor once a week. Our schedule will include 3 hours at each site for an estimated 6 hours per week throughout the summer months. **Schedule will be created according to low tide times**

We are seeking volunteers who have a love for the ocean and marine ecosystems, who want to learn more about bivalves and their contributions to water quality health, as well as expand their scientific research skills using a hands on field approach. If you enjoy collaborating with a small team and are eager to make a splash in shellfish monitoring, please make sure to apply!

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 15th. Applications received after May 15th will not be considered. You will be notified via email regarding our selection at the end of that week.

Sue’s Summer Seedlings Program:

If you are looking for an outdoor summer opportunity and enjoy working with children, this may be for you! Sue is seeking volunteers to help facilitate activities, crafts, and to guide children on hikes with the Seedlings Program. Must like getting dirty, paint covered, touching bugs and a be motivated self-starter!!

She has four sessions to choose from, and she will be selecting 4 volunteers per each session.

To apply, please email Sue: Sue@avalonparkandpreserve.org

Please make sure that you can commit to ALL four dates within your session and during the full time frame. All sessions will be held Monday-Thursday and will take place from 9:30 AM-1:30 PM.


July 15-18:     K-3rd Grade

July 22-25:   4th-6th Grade

August 5-8:     K-3rd Grade

August 12-15: 4th-6th Grade

In your email to Sue, please share your top preferences according to your interest/availability and your phone number. Please apply by Friday, June 14th. Sue will be in touch with you regarding next steps.

200 Harbor Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790 • 631-689-0619
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