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Elementary students in Hampton help build oyster reef in river

The children learned about oyster reefs firsthand, writing messages of hope on adult oyster shells and helping pour spats into the Hampton River.

HAMPTON, Va. — Langley Elementary School students learned about oyster reefs firsthand Wednesday, writing messages of hope on shells and helping pour baby oysters into the Hampton River.

The fifth graders and kindergarteners met just off Club Run Boulevard for their day of marine fun.

Reggie Ervin, a fifth-grade student, was one of the children who wrote a message on an adult oyster shell that got put into the river. These adult shells are prime habitat for oyster spats, which need to anchor down to grow.

"Mine says 'Hope you stay strong, also don't die,'" Ervin said.

Adult oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water every day, so they're a great tool for cleaning waterways.

Betsy McAllister, a Hampton City Schools STEM specialist from the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), said these oysters will achieve even more than that, though.

"By raising oysters and putting those out into our local waterways, the Hampton River, the Back Bay, our students are helping to improve water quality, they're providing habitat, they're reducing wave energy that causes erosion," she said. "So they're just having a huge impact on our home, which is Hampton."

Credit: Hampton City Schools
Hampton City Schools elementary students learn about oysters while helping build a reef
Credit: Hampton City Schools
Hampton City Schools elementary students learn about oysters while helping build a reef

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