WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Memorial Middle School fifth grade science classes and the Animal Club were treated to an educational program by ReClam the Bay, a 501c3 non-profit, all-volunteer group that oversees the birth, growing, and replanting of clams and oysters in the bay areas of New Jersey. Volunteer shellfish gardener Deb Licato-Meiman, of Ortley Beach, presented the programs to the students.

For the science classes, students worked on finding volume to chart the growth of baby clams. This skill was reinforced as they have been practicing the concept in math this week as well.

After school, the Animal Club members got an in-depth look at the life cycles of clams, scallops and oysters, and their contribution to keeping the waters clean. They learned that the creatures live in brackish water, which is half fresh and half salt waters. The clams, scallops and oysters filter and keep the water clean. They can each filter some 20 to 50 gallons of water a day.

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With the growing coastal communities creating problems that are harmful to marine life. Nature's solution is the creatures that ReClam the Bay is releasing into the waters of the Barnegat, Manahawkin and Little Egg Harbor bays, as they clean and filter the water and stabilize the shorelines. The more clams and oysters that live in the bays, the cleaner the water will be and more marine life that can thrive there.

Mrs. Licato-Meiman stressed to the students that they can be environmental stewards at the shore and at home. They can pick up litter when at the beach. At home, they can use reusable bags for produce, fruit and school lunches to reduce disposable waste.

Student club advisor Mrs. Donato scheduled the program after seeing Re-Clam the Bay at a street fair down the shore. 

“It is an environmental phenomenon as to how these animals filter our waters,” she noted.

Since forming in 2005, ReClam the Bay has grown over 15 million clams and 5 million oysters and planted these shellfish in Barnegat Bay Watershed. Find out more at www.reclamthebay.org.