Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Oyster Trail opens to support oyster gardening

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant partners with 12 organizations and 6 art groups to create trail

Giant oysters arecurious new attractions in downtown Mobile.  Local artists paired up with businesses and organizations to paint and place fiberglass oyster sculptures in several locations. Six were unveiled July 11, and another half-dozen will be unveiled at a later date.

The oysters form The Oyster Trail, which is an artistic treasure hunt of sorts that allows people to find the colorful sculptures throughout town. The trail also educates people about oysters in Mobile Bay. For example, did you know it takes one to three years for an oyster in Mobile Bay to grow to a harvestable size of 3 inches? Each work of art on the trail includes a plaque that displays an interesting fact about oysters.

At the unveiling ceremonies, which took place simultaneously across the city, people already were posing for photographs with the oysters.
“The sculptures help people engage with the environment and better understand the role of oysters in Mobile Bay,” said PJ Waters of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program. 

Waters, who coordinated the trail with a team of volunteers, is hoping that the Oyster Trail also will help grow interest in the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program. In the program, volunteers grow oysters from their piers. At the end of the growing season, the oysters are planted on reefs for restoration. People who do not have waterfront property get involved by adopting gardens through a $25 donation. They receive updates on the oysters’ progress throughout the season. The program is in its 13th year, and oyster gardeners have grown more than 535,000 oysters for restoration.

While oysters from the program are not for consumption, many people have a love for eating oysters. Artist Devlin Wilson painted a portrait of a man shucking oysters on the front of the Oyster Trail sculpture across the street from Wintzell’s Oyster House on Dauphin Street. The man in the painting is Willie Brown. He has been shucking oysters for hungry patrons at Wintzell’s for a very long time. 

“It’ll be 43 years come November,” Brown said.

The Mobile Arts Council also played a role in creating the trail. Bob Burnett, executive director, worked with others to identify artists to or the oyster paintings.

“The collaboration of business and the creative community is always a driving aspect of a thriving community,” he said.

Owner of Wintzell’s Oyster House restaurants Buffy Donlon said it made sense for Wintzell’s to get on board and support the trail.

“We’re the oldest restaurant in the city,” she said. “It was a natural thing for us to be a sponsor. The Oyster Trail helps people become more educated about both oysters and the arts.”

Oyster Trail sponsors and partners include the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Wintzell’s Oyster House, Hampton Inn & Suites, Mobile Arts Council, Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center, Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Mobile Alliance, Alabama Coastal Foundation, 100-1000 Restore Coastal Alabama, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and Felix’s/Bluegill Restaurants. The oyster statues were painted by local artists and art groups including Ameri’ca Jones, the BayArt Project, Riley Brenes, Devlin Wilson, Melissa Shaver and Dyann Munoz.

For more information about the Oyster Trail and the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program, visit or

Related Posts

Virginia Sea Grant Launches the USDA and NOAA-Supported Aquaculture Information Exchange Online Community Platform

The Aquaculture Information Exchange (AIE) online community platform website is now live and open for new user registrations. The AIE represents a joint effort between NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office, NOAA’s Fisheries Office of Aquaculture, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Virginia Sea Grant.

Read More >
Image of Capitol Hill with a bright blue cloudless sky and blooming cherry blossom tree in the right corner
Academia to Government

Sea Grant Announces the 2024 Class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2024 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The 85 early-career professionals selected will be placed in federal government offices throughout Washington, D.C., and join the over 1,600 individuals who have participated in the program since its inception in 1979.

Read More >
Image of plastic debris on Oregon’s Clatsop Beach by Tiffany Woods | Oregon Sea Grant.

Sea Grant announces funding opportunities to support community-engaged marine debris removal and prevention

Sea Grant announces $19 million in federal funding opportunities to address the prevention and removal of marine debris. These opportunities are a component of nearly $3 billion in targeted investments for NOAA in the areas of habitat restoration, coastal resilience and weather forecasting infrastructure through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Read More >
Scroll to Top