Kerry Marinos' Team Publix Raises the Bar on Shell Bagging Efficiency

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At least once a month, volunteers gather to bag oyster shells which are used to build reefs for the FLOOR (Florida Oceanographic Oyster Restoration) program. It’s not a contest, but some friendly competition doesn’t hurt!  Volunteer Kerry Marinos has brought nine of her Publix co-workers for oyster shell bagging several times, and it’s a very productive team. Kerry is a customer service team leader at the Stuart Publix.

“Publix asked us for ideas on something sustainable, and we decided to start an environmental team,” says Kerry. “I knew about the FLOOR program from my own volunteering with Florida Oceanographic Society (FOS), and it was an easy sell to my co-workers.  It’s something we enjoy doing together, and we’re always trying to set new records for the number of bags we can fill.”

Over the past two years, Kerry has given more than 150 hours of service, and she doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff, like

  • Counting individual grasses living on the bottom of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) for the seagrass survey
  • Filling dozens of plastic cubes with concrete and oyster shells that will become artificial reefs to restore IRL shorelines
  • Doing weekly water testing near the Driftwood Hotel, and monthly water sampling for microplastics testing
  • Cleaning the nursery tanks each week so young seagrasses can thrive

“I love the hands-on aspect of volunteering here,” says Kerry, who grew up on a farm in Maryland, “especially the work with the seagrasses. It’s really exciting to see the seagrasses making a comeback because they are vital to the health of the estuary.”

As a child, Kerry spent time in the Stuart area every summer, and moved here permanently with her two children 25 years ago to be near her parents. Her daughter Ally is assistant manager at Kay’s in the Treasure Coast Mall, and her son Cory is a physical therapist. Kerry’s worked for Publix for the past 13 years. She spends her free time fishing off the dock or from her kayak. “I fell in love with kayaking about 10 years ago, and I love fishing from my kayak,” says Kerry. “I’ll fish for anything – trout, snook, sheepshead, a big jack that will tow you down the river – anything that will bite.”

Kerry Marinos Snapshot

Born in: Damascus, MD

Family: Daughter Ally in Stuart, son Cory and his fiancée Caroline in Maryland

Furry friend: 4-year-old rescue black cat Keegan

Free time passions: kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, swimming

Fave eats: Carson’s

Good reads: Any book by David Baldacci