44th Annual Shell Club Show August 10-12 in Stone Harbor

Last Edited: Aug 04, 2018 2:04 PM

Ocean and shell lovers will be gathering to check out the 44th annual Jersey Cape Shell Club Show happening at the Wetlands Institute this month. Opening August 10th, the show will run from Friday to Saturday (August 11th) 9:30a.m. to 4p.m., and Sunday (August 12th) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The show is an event to showcase both scientific knowledge as well as artistic ability. The shell exhibits are run and operated by volunteers from the club and other shell enthusiasts.

Judging is broken up into the categories of scientific, artistic, age and then more specifically for each group. Ages are broken down into groups — from under 12, 13-17, and adult.

The scientific exhibits have categories such as single shell, multiple shells, anomalies, and miscellaneous. Sub-categories include fossil, worldwide, and albino shells that can be entered and judged for a ribbon.

B.J. Bingham's shell collection.

One of the past scientific participators and ribbon winners is B.J. Bingham, of Millville. She started collecting shells in the 1970s, focusing on the identification of each shell. 

Bingham originally started out with one shell, spending all night finding out what its classification was according to her encyclopedias and other field guides, and she didn’t stop after that. She has displayed scientific projects such as displays of shells the size of grain as well as a case of bioluminescence shells, with a display case and light to get the full effect of the bioluminescence.

She has a vast collection of shells and books and more than 100 displays. 

The artistic shells take on a more imaginative side. Club members and others prepare crafts for the show. These crafts are either made of shells or inspired by ocean life. They create animals such as cats, turtles, lions, and frogs, and things like wreaths, jewelry, flower arrangements, paintings and more. They are sold, raffled off, or on display at the show.

Shell flowers made by Karen Lelli

One artist, Karen Lelli, a ribbon winner and one of the coordinators for the show, works on the art part of the showcase and club, creating beautiful arrays of flowers, bouquets, and other shell works.

“It is not like anyone taught me, this is all self-taught and then what totally blew my mind was that I wasn’t the only one doing it — that there were other people out there doing these things,” said Lelli, of Vineland. 

The club and show started in 1974 and is run as a non-profit organization with a goal to promote conservation and ecology in sea life. They do this by providing club members and the community with educational programs and opportunities, giving them access to club members and guest speakers to learn more about the shells and the species that live inside of them.

Lifelong friendships are made as well as a support system to help learn about what lives in the shores and beaches. The show is a great way to start, with a stepping stone for the science and the arts of marine life.

This show takes place at the Wetlands Institute, 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., in Stone Harbor. The admission is 3$ for adults and is free for children 12 years and younger.

If you wish to join the club, the form to fill out can be found at jerseycapeshellclub.com/membership.html and membership is 15$ a year. For more information about the club email info@jerseycapeshellclub.com.



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