An oyster gardener with three young helpers. Photo by CBF StaffA CBF oyster gardener gets some help from three young assistants. Photo by CBF Staff

New Oyster Gardeners

Getting Started as a New Oyster Gardener

If you would like to participate in CBF's Oyster Gardening Program, follow these steps:

  1. Register for a New Gardener Seminar to learn about oyster gardening and pick up new seed oyster. We ask that all new oyster gardeners attend a seminar before gardening their first year. Seminars are held in mid-July through mid-September. Check scheduled locations and dates.

    The seminar will help you learn how to maintain your oyster garden throughout the coming year. After the seminar you will receive 1,000 native baby oysters and you'll be off and running. Sign up early because space is limited.  

    There is a suggested donation of $30 per 1,000 oysters, which includes a CBF membership and enables CBF to cover the costs of oyster purchase and transplants.  
  2. Download our information packet (PDF, 2.62 MB, 31 pgs) about oyster gardening for restoration. This packet includes general information about the Citizen Oyster Gardening program, the need for oyster restoration, the materials required, and a required State Registration form.
  3. Purchase oyster gardening supplies. Vendor information is provided in the information packet you'll receive via mail, or view our information on purchasing oyster gardening supplies.
  4. Return your mature oysters (about 1-2" in length) each year to an Oyster Roundup, where we then transport them onto Virginia sanctuary reefs. At the reefs, your oysters will continue growing and spawning to help jump start local oyster populations. You can pick up new seed ($30 per 1,000 oysters) at the Roundup

If you have any questions about the above process, please contact CBF's Hampton Roads Office at 757-622-1964 or at

**Please wear gloves and relevant protective clothing while handling your oyster shells or float in order to prevent waterborne illness.**

CBF is proud to once again partner with Lynnhaven River NOW and the Elizabeth River Project to help expand our oyster gardening program in 2012. Training seminars in Virginia Beach are co-hosted by Lynnhaven River NOW. We also sponsor a combined seminar/roundup in Norfolk for RiverStar Home participants co-hosted by the Elizabeth River Project.


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