Welcome FSG H.A.R.V.E.S.T. Intern, Tucker Reynolds!
Tucker is an intern for Grayson Bay Oyster Company, employed by the University of Florida through the Florida Sea Grant “HARVEST” internship program. HARVEST stands for Helping Aquaculture Reap Value and Enhance Student Training. This program supports workforce development and hands-on experiences for college students with an interest in aquaculture. Each student intern is paired with a local aquaculture business, giving them a chance to immerse themselves in all aspects of the business and provide valuable assistance to our industry partners.
Tucker was highly recommended by his former employers, colleagues, and friends. Tucker decided to apply for this position “because it was something totally different than anything I had ever done before, and it involved being in the water.” Tucker loves being on the water more than land, so this position fits him well. Tucker also realized that this position with Grayson Bay Oyster Company was a “great way to build new skills I had not developed and learn about the aquaculture industry.”
Tucker is talented and has had many kinds of jobs, many in education. Tucker said, “I started out teaching summer camps at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station for Santa Rosa County School District, I’ve been a Teacher Assistant (TA) at the University of West Florida for general chemistry 2, and organic chemistry 1. I’ve also been a line cook at a restaurant during the pandemic when summer camps got canceled.”
Growing up in Navarre, Tucker is local student. He lived for a short time in North Carolina. When he and his family returned to the Gulf Coast, he said was when “he got hooked on the ocean and developed my hobbies of fishing, diving, snorkeling, and boating. All my hobbies typically revolve around water, but I also enjoy golf and hanging out with my friends and family.”
Brandon and Natalie Smith are the owners of Grayson Bay Oyster Company. Bandon commented on the opportunity with Florida Sea Grant and Tucker’s successes so far, “We are very excited to have Tucker as part of Grayson Bay Oyster Co. Within the first three weeks he’s helped us prepare the farm for a tropical storm and a hurricane. He has helped us put new baby oysters on the farm, harvest, process and has a general eagerness to know the details including record keeping and regulations. As a small new oyster farm, the opportunity that the Florida Sea Grant has given us, and Tucker is invaluable.” Tucker is learning about the challenges and successes of running an oyster farm on the Gulf Coast!
From the Grayson Bay Website: “Grayson Bay Oyster Company is a tide-to-table, sustainable family oyster farm located in Pensacola Bay, Florida and named after the owners’ two young boys, Baylen and Grayson Smith. Our mission is to provide high-quality oysters for families and communities across the Southeast while helping to improve water quality and educating the public on sustainable aquaculture methods.”
Congratulations to Tucker on this exciting opportunity to add “working all aspects of an oyster aquaculture farm” to his impressive resume. Thanks to Grayson Bay Oyster Company and Florida for opportunity to further engage with the oyster aquaculture industry.