Popular program filled to capacity during four sessions offered this summer
PROVIDENCE - About 30 adults and children will spend a late summer afternoon today at Spink's Neck Beach in North Kingstown, where they will learn to dig for quahogs and see chefs prepare the freshly-harvested shellfish during a cooking demonstration. Participants in today's 'Come Clam With Me' workshop, which is sponsored by DEM's Aquatic Resource Education program and the Rhode Island Sea Grant, will be able to bring home a half bushel of quahogs, so they will be doing their best to fill their pails with plenty of this favorite variety of Rhode Island shellfish.
Over the course of the summer DEM has offered four 'Come Clam with Me' workshops to the public free of charge. The sessions feature commercial shell fisherman Jody King, who introduces participants to recreational clamming and shows them how to dig for clams by taking them into the water and helping them become acquainted with the equipment. The response has been overwhelming. All classes have been filled to capacity with extensive waiting lists. In all, over 120 people are learning about clamming, tides, saltwater regulations and DEM's educational programs. Given the tremendous public response, six sessions are being planned for next year at various locations across the state.
"Harvesting a fresh seafood dinner straight from the ocean is the ultimate Rhode Island experience, and we encourage folks who haven't gone clamming before or want to refresh their skills to join one of these classes next season," said DEM Director Janet Coit.
The 'Come Clam with Me' classes originated as an outreach program to inform the public about the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan. The 'field to table' workshop technique proved to be a successful educational model. The URI Coastal Resources Center and the RI Sea Grant facilitated the workshops for three years and were integrated into DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife's Aquatic Resource Education (ARE) program this year. RI Sea Grant and URI's Coastal Resources Center generously donated clamming tools and buckets, staff expertise, and handouts to the ARE program. Jody King, a lifelong commercial and recreational fisherman, again offered his services and led participants on a journey to explore Rhode Island's rich shellfish heritage, talked about the importance of shellfish to the marine ecosystem and the importance of closure to shellfish management and public health.
For more information, please contact Kimberly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 401-539-0019.