CAMBRIDGE — The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay has taken the reigns on a new marine life teaching opportunity, offering guests a closer look at the farming of Chesapeake oysters.
In celebration of National Oyster Day on Monday, Aug. 5, Hoopers Island Oyster Co. and Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina unveiled its new educational oyster exhibit.
The exhibit features a demonstration of a working oyster farm at the River Marsh Marina, accompanied by an informative display of descriptive panels, videos, literature and aquaculture gear in the “Oyster Room” off the main concourse.
Visitors will be able to see how oysters are grown, sorted and managed in a floating upweller system, beginning with Hoopers Island larvae and seed. The display includes grow-out gear from the nearby University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory and the Oyster Recovery Partnership.
Hoopers Island Oyster Co. said guests who view the exhibit will come away with fun facts and key messages about oysters, including the mollusk’s ability to filter 50 gallons of water a day.
The masterminds behind the exhibit are Hoopers’ Managing Partner Ricky Fitzhugh and Hyatt General Manager Joel Bunde, who worked together to explain how oyster aquaculture has created a thriving, sustainable seafood industry in the Chesapeake region.
Bunde said the idea of creating this “little museum” about Chesapeake oysters grew out of the hotel’s annual Oyster Week celebration that occurs during Thanksgiving.
“Our friends at Hoopers Island not only produce a great-tasting product but have worked with us in a unique partnership that will increase our guests’ interest in the oysters we serve and the many benefits they provide to cleanse our waterways,” he said. “And, it honors the local watermen and aquaculture farmers who are continuing the Chesapeake’s great tradition of oystering.”
Fitzhugh, a commercial waterman by trade and former wholesale seafood business owner, said he is proud to collaborate with the Hyatt to communicate the critical role oysters play in Maryland’s economy and environment.
“We were honored to join the Hyatt in sharing the story of Dorchester County’s rich oystering heritage being revived today by the aquaculture industry,” he said. “It’s a unique way to educate out-of-town guests as they stroll along the marina’s floating docks and walk from their rooms to the resort’s restaurants and lobby.”
The Hyatt Chesapeake entertains thousands of guests each year who come to the property for family fun, golf, meetings, weddings and other events.
The Hyatt’s restaurants, Water’s Edge Grill and Blue Point Provision Company, currently serve Hoopers’ hand-raised oysters, including “Mermaid Kiss,” a new deep cup, cocktail-sized offering.
Hoopers’ oyster technicians, Natalie Ruark, Imani Black and Alyssa O’Prey, also helped to develop the exhibit. The showcase was fabricated and installed by Mid Shore Graphics. The “Oyster Room” is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.