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Tampa Bay Non-Profit 'Shell-ebrates' Giving Tuesday

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - "Today we're at the Tampa Bay Watch facility in Tierra Verde and we have our all-star volunteers working on the community Oyster Reef Enhancement Program," said Michelle Yepez, the Development Director at Tampa Bay Watch.

This Giving Tuesday, Tampa Bay Watch in Pinellas County is "shell-ebrating"!

"Today the volunteers are pouring marine-safe concrete into these molds. Eventually these molds are going to end up along shorelines in Tampa Bay. Each one weighs 200 pounds and will house an unlimited amount of oysters. Every oyster will filter up to fifty gallons of sea water a day and that in itself will help us respond to the effects of red tide," said Yepez.

Since 1993, the non-profit has helped protect and restore Tampa Bay's coastlines and inland water environments.

"You may have heard that the red tide was extremely impactful for our bay water. Everything from the economy to the beaches was affected. Our job here at Tampa Bay Watch is to respond to the effects of red tide," said Yepez

So this Giving Tuesday is unlike most and they're goal is set at $7,500 for water quality research projects. Volunteers Eli Rose and his wife have been helping at the facility for more than eight years now.

"Working with a great bunch of people. That staff here is fantastic as are the other volunteers and we're improving the quality of the estuary of Tampa Bay," said Rose.

Other say it's community that keeps them coming back.

"I come out and give my blood, sweat and tears to Tampa Bay Watch at least a couple times a week. I love the community. The people that work at Tampa Bay Watch are smart and gracious to all of us old people that are volunteering here," said Carol Marks, a volunteer at Tampa Bay Watch.

"Throughout the year, every donation that's made to Tampa Bay Watch will actually benefit one of the programs that we run. Whether that's a salt marsh planting, community oyster reef enhancement programs, or even children's programming, said Yepez.

Click here for more information on how you can get involved with the organization. You can also visit their Facebook page here.

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