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Suffolk Project In Aquaculture Training Hosting Annual Potluck Picnic

Olivia Rutigliano

One day old oysters. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

The Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT) Annual Picnic will be held at Founder's Landing Park on Saturday, September 15 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The annual SPAT gathering is a potluck celebration, which is open to members who are encouraged to bring their favorite entree, appetizer, side dish or dessert to share with other guests. There will also be a raw bar, jazz band, and soft drinks. Blue Point Brewing Company will provide local beer, but guests may bring their own beer or wine.

"This annual event offers an opportunity to celebrate Cornell Cooperative Extension's SPAT Program and all of the hard working volunteers and participants who are part of this effort. The event is open to current Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training members and their families," Kimberly Barbour, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Suffolk County, Marine Program Outreach Manager, noted.

The program was developed by Cornell Marine Program and relies on volunteers to help grow shellfish in containment until they reach adulthood, when they then are either consumed by the SPAT member who grew them, or donated back to CCE for release into local creeks and bays to promote wild settlement.

Volunteers and members are offered monthly workshops and are provided with shellfish seed and necessary tools and equipment. In exchange for a minimal fee, all permits are secured and members may keep oysters for their own personal use.

"We are committed to connecting individuals with ways to help give back to our bays and our SPAT program represents one of most enjoyed and well known ways to get involved in these efforts," Barbour added. "If you want to learn more about the SPAT Program and other initiatives of Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program please visit ccesuffolk.org."

Proceeds from the picnic benefits the SPAT program, which was established to encourage community members to help their surrounding environment and restore shellfish to the bays. Over 1,000 people have joined the program and that number continues to grow every year.

Due to the overwhelming response to last year's SPAT picnic, tickets will be solely available through advanced sales. Admission is $10 per person and members will be allowed to purchase up to four tickets.

Additionally, SPAT will host an information session about the Tiana Oyster Gardening Program on Friday, September 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Tiana Bayside Facility (89 Dune Road, Hampton Bays). All members and the general public alike are invited to learn about how they can grow oysters through the SPAT program. The workshop will also touch upon life history, culture techniques, culinary tips, maintenance of gardens and much more.

Founder's Landing Park is located at 725 Terry Lane in Southold. To purchase tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com.

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