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At 95, volunteer honored for years of oyster preservation...and he's still going

Walter Zadan, of Williamsburg, has been volunteering with Virginia oyster shell recycling for 13 years, the longest of any Chesapeake Bay Foundation volunteer.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — At 95 years old, Walter Zadan is still trying to save the environment, one oyster shell at a time. 

Zadan spends his free time recycling oyster shells. 

Every week, he stops by Berrett's Seafood Restaurant in Williamsburg to pick up shells, and then, he drops them off with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

It was a special day for this special volunteer on Wednesday.

The foundation honored Zadan for being its longest-serving volunteer. 

Since 2008,  Zadan has recycled nearly 9,300 bushels from four restaurants, totaling nearly 2.8 million shells. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, those shells have fostered about 27 million oysters in sanctuary reefs. 

"I think what I do is important," said Zadan.

Zadan says saving the shells is key to restoring the Chesapeake Bay oyster reefs, and at 95-years-old he has no plans of slowing down. 

As long as I feel good enough – I do have aches and pains sometimes. But as long I as can do it, I still will," he said. 

Zadan believes his work isn't just good for the environment, but good for him, too. 

He moved to Williamsburg in 1998 after a career in restaurants and as a culinary teacher. 

He became an advocate for the Chesapeake Bay after learning of a decline in the Bay's fisheries in the early 2000s.