Shucking it up at Highlands On the Half-Shell

Highlands in a Half-Shell is a fundraiser for the Highlands Biological Foundation to support programs and scholarships at the Highlands Biological Station. Supporters of the environment and education showed up to dine on steamed oysters, jambalaya and gumbo in the Meadow at the Bio. Station.

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Highlands Biological Foundation Executive Director Charlotte Muir thanks guests for supporting the Biological Station’s programs at Highlands On the Half-Shell on Oct. 7.

“This is always a good event,” said Bio. Foundation Executive Director Charlotte Muir. “Beyond the fundraiser we love having people to our campus to show them what we do.”

Programs include grants for research, keeping the Botanical Garden and Nature Center’s open, summer camps, and scholarships. Approximately 150 people attended the Cajun-style event and Muir said it was a smashing success.

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From left are Hal Stibbs, Hal’s brother Jack and Hal’s wife, Martha, manning the oysters at Highlands On the Half-Shell.

“We were thrilled,” said Muir. “We surpassed all of our goals and couldn’t be happier.”

Attendees shucked oysters, listened to a live banjo player and basically had a good time.

Martha Stibbs and her husband, Hal, were on jambalaya and oyster duty and they didn’t disappoint. Martha said her New-Orleans influenced jambalaya contained the holy trinity of celery, onions and bell peppers, and also included rice, tomatoes, garlic (AKA the Pope) sausage and chicken.

“It takes about 2-3 hours, there’s a lot of chopping,” said Martha. “Plus we have to tone it down. We like it spicy but not everyone here does. But so far people have said they love it.”

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Jennifer Stowers (on right) cooked and dished out the gumbo at highlands On the Half-Shell.

The gumbo comes from Jennifer Stowers who brought a little bit of Dauphin Island, Ga. to the mix. Stowers’ husband John used to man the helm of the gumbo but passed away two-years ago. Lining the trees in the Meadow were strings of decorative Bud Lite cans in honor of John.

“He had it down to a system,” said Jennifer. “He loved to make it. I know mine isn’t as good as his but I try, and who’s going to tell me they don’t like it.”

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Decorative Bud Lite cans lined the trees in memory of John Stowers who passed away two years ago.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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