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Citizen Support Organization of the Year 2022

Congratulations to the Friends of Gamble Rogers Board of Directors, winner of the 2022 Citizen Support Organization of the Year for Greener Initiatives and Short Project: Natural for Living Shoreline and Shoreline Restoration









Congratulations to the Florida State Parks volunteers who were honored in April 2023 during the District 3 Volunteer Awards Event at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park! Florida State Parks Foundation President Tammy Gustafson was in attendance to congratulate the award recipients. We were thrilled to be part of this event and help recognize the dedicated Gamble Rogers State Park volunteers who make a difference through their work each day. 


  • The Friends of Gamble Rogers State Park Citizen Support Organization (FROGRS) initiated the Shuck and Share Oyster Shell Recycling Program in partnership with the Marine Discovery Center in 2016. The Shuck and Share program provides a stable source of shell for shoreline and oyster restoration projects. Since the program’s inception in 2016, volunteers have contributed over 1,670 hours to collect 191,937 pounds of oyster shell.  In North Peninsula State Park, FROGRS has contributed a total of 1,274 bags of oyster shell for living shoreline projects with 474 of that total being deployed for the living shoreline project completed in June 2022.   

  • The construction of a 500 linear foot living shoreline took place in the class III waters of the Halifax River, an Aquatic Preserve and an Outstanding Florida Waterbody along the eastern shoreline of North Peninsula State Park. 

  • Chris Schlageter, Project Manager at Young Bear Environmental Consulting, secured the necessary permits, created the living shoreline design and coordinated project work days with Park Services Specialist Stephanie York and St. John’s River Water Management District. Chris also donated the use of his tractor and tractor-trailer to load and transport bagged oyster shell.

       Ron Brockmeyer, Environmental Scientist V with St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD),             contributed the use of SJRWMD barge to transport shoreline materials, volunteers and staff. 

       Captain Neill Holland, the Director of Ocean Aid 360, contributed abandoned and derelict blue crab traps         he retrieved from waters in the Tampa Bay area. 

  • Project work days began in February 2022 when seven park volunteers, PSS Stephanie York, and staff from Young Bear Environmental Consulting undertook the arduous task of coating 100 crab traps in concrete and filling 50 of them with loose oyster shell.  

  • In May and June 2022, 22 volunteers gathered at the park’s Shuck and Share oyster recycling area to bag loose oyster shell for the project, creating 474 bags.  

  • The deployment of crab traps and oyster bags was spread over two days in June. Ranger Kevin Callahan utilized the park’s tractor with Ranger Jim Valentine’s assistance to load tree branches, crab traps and oyster bags onto the St. Johns River Management District’s barge at the boat basin in Gamble Rogers State Park. Chris Schlageter,St. John’s staff members, PSS Stephanie York and park volunteers embarked on the barge and traveled south on the Halifax River to the shoreline stabilization site.

  • Park service volunteers, PSS Stephanie York and environmental partners Chris Schlageter and Ron Brockmeyer waded into the water of the Halifax River, formed a human chain and passed 50-pound concrete coated crab traps and 30-pound mesh bags filled with oyster shell from the barge to the placement site. Materials were aligned side by side with 5 foot gaps every 75 feet and locally sourced Spartina alterniflora installed between the wave break and mean high water line. All openings in crab traps were bent shut to exclude fish, crabs and other marine life from becoming entrapped. Oyster bags and crab traps were installed to reach an elevation optimal to encourage oyster recruitment. A site visit in October 2022 by Chris Schlageter revealed all the crab traps and oyster bags appear to be in good condition and have stayed in place following the passing of Hurricane Ian.  

  • With Hurricane Ian followed by Tropical Storm Nicole, 2022 made nearly every resident in Florida starkly aware of just how precious and vulnerable our shorelines are and the importance of actively doing all we can to preserve and protect these natural resources for years to come. The Shuck and Share Shell Oyster Recycling Program, along with our CSO and its passionate volunteers, remain dedicated to doing more, but that will only be possible with the outstanding support of local business partners like Young Bear Consulting and agency partners like St. John’s River Water Management District.   

  • Volunteers and CSO members Doug Adams, Jeff Bielanin, Ann Bradley, Dick Clement, Lyn Clement, Donna Dempsey, Bill Denny, Tom Green, Walt Mahler, Charlie Morrow, Chris Nelson, Christine Osypian, Tom Osypian, Dan Rutkowski, Jim Van Ness, Betty Villanova, Greg Wilson, and Brian York collectively contributed 165 hours toward this project: 47 hours was spent dipping 100 crab traps in concrete, 52 hours creating oyster shell bags, and 66 hours deploying materials in the water.  

  • Friends of Gamble Rogers State Park Board of Directors Team includes: Greg Wilson, President; Paula Wehr, Secretary; Mark King, Treasurer, Bill Denny, Paul Rebmann, Connie Schrider, Mary Ellen Setting, Mary Anne Walsh, Brian York. 

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