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Birds, Oysters and Seafood – VLM Conservation Projects part II

The VLM was built on the idea of conserving and protecting Virginia’s natural resources. Staff and volunteers from all departments are involved in numerous conservation projects and encourage our community to do so as well.  There are conservation projects for every interest from seagrass to seafood watch to songbirds.

Project Feeder Watch allows citizen scientists and staff to contribute data from their own observations. After training on bird ID, volunteers record the numbers and species that visit our feeders and submit the results to Feeder watch sponsored by Cornell Ornithology Lab.

A selection of seafood we feed to our sharks

A shipment of sustainable seafood from our certified Seafood Watch partner Sam Rust Seafood

Seafood Watch keeps current on the wild status of species people eat and the impacts the fisheries have on the environment. They then recommend the most sustainable seafood choices to minimize our impact. Our in-house liaison Alexis Brandtner provides staff and guests this information and advises the VLM about what we purchase to feed our animals.

The VLM heads to Oyster, VA each late spring to assist the Nature Conservancy and VIMS to restore seagrass beds. Staff and volunteers take a boat out to the grass beds and pull seeding grass to take back for culturing at their aquaculture facility on shore. The seedlings are then planted back to help seagrass reestablish in areas that were affected by erosion and poor water quality.

Aquarium Curator and VLM Conservation Committee member Patrycja Lawryniuk displays sea grass seed structures she collected snorkeling

Alexis, Corey and Amber enjoy a sunny day on the seagrass project

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