How 2 cousins saved their family's oyster company with underwater farming.

When Ryan and Travis Croxton decided to bring back their grandfather's oyster company, it coincided with Chesapeake Bay’s lowest oyster harvest ever.

All images via Upworthy.

Their town's once-flourishing industry was collapsing. In fact, things got so bad, their native oyster was almost put on the endangered species list. It was a pretty big dilemma (and inconvenient timing), to say the least. But it only spurred the Croxton cousins' Rappahannock Oyster Company even more to find a solution.


They scoured the internet to see what other countries were doing, how they were producing their seafood. What they found was a more advanced, efficient technique that could help save not just their own business, but Chesapeake Bay's entire oyster industry.

Watch how this amazing journey unfolded right here:

This community of dedicated fishermen is making sure the Chesapeake Bay oyster doesn't end up on the endangered species list.

Posted by Upworthy Video on Friday, March 17, 2017

Rather than just gathering what oysters were left, the Croxtons turned to aquaculture, which is basically the farming and harvesting of anything that lives underwater.

Outside of aquaculture, gathering fish and oysters is just about that — gathering. Get, get, get. Fish, fish, fish. You collect as big a bounty as you can and you sell it for top dollar. The problem with that model is it becomes all about how much you can get, leaving little regard for resources.

In contrast, aquaculture is all about those resources. It focuses on creating a sustainable ecosystem where underwater plants and animals can thrive more naturally.

And when it comes down to it, oyster aquaculture can be a boon to both the environment and the economy.

For one thing, oysters are a natural cleaner and they act as an amazing filter for pollutants, such as nitrogen. "During its duration in the water, it's filtering 50 to 60 gallons of water a day," explained Ryan Croxton.

Promoting a habitat and life cycle that allows these oysters to blossom benefits Mother Nature (and our tummies) even more. "The oysters we grow actually increase the population of the wild oysters," added Travis Croxton. "You see underwater vegetation coming back, which provides sanctuary for marine animals."

When it comes to aquaculture and fish, however, the method does have potential downsides. Installing cages to farm the fish is necessary, and building them can damage a coast's natural ecosystem. On top of that, waste can accumulate in these structures and contaminate an area's water supply.

Aquaculture also has the potential to create countless new jobs. In the U.S. alone, aquaculture production hit just over a billion dollars back in 2012. But when you compare it to the $120 billion worldwide industry that it was valued at that same year, you can see there are still many opportunities for growth.

And it's already happening.

When the the Croxtons first started out, only a few businesses were doing aquaculture in their community. Now? Several hundred. "I've increased my workforce by about 30%," said Richard Harding, owner of Purcell’s Seafood Company. "We're a small business in a small community, so every job counts."

The best part? Aquaculture has the potential to improve food access for people all around the world.

A 2015 report by WorldFish shows how fish consumption is rising in developing nations — and future demand worldwide is only expected to increase in the coming decades. This means that aquaculture is going to play a pivotal role in making sure that everyone gets fed.

In fact, by 2030, it's already estimated that two-thirds of the global fish supply will be produced via aquaculture.

So yes, demand, populations, challenges — they're all rising. But, you know what? So is the know-how of the people addressing this issue. "Aquaculture is one of the rare things in this world that is a win-win for everything," added Travis Croxton.

The next time you grab an oyster platter, think about how that little gooey organism is helping change the world. Then, of course, think about how dang delicious it is.

Most Shared
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture