The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) announced today it will pledge a portion of its revenues from 2014 Outback Bowl t-shirt sales to help rebuild critical oyster populations in coastal areas of Tampa Bay.

This is the fifth consecutive year the Outback Bowl has chosen Guy Harvey to design the game’s official program cover and t-shirt.  This year, the GHOF through Native Sun Sports, the Outback Bowl’s official merchandiser, has pledged $1 from the sale of each Guy Harvey Outback Bowl t-shirt to Tampa Bay Watch, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary.

“We are grateful to once again be working with the Outback Bowl to create the official design for use on their program and Bowl t-shirt for what has become one of the country’s most exciting bowl games to watch,” said Steve Stock, President of Guy Harvey Inc. and Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. “This year we will give back to the community through a program that not only touches the heart of our mission to support marine science research, but is a model for successful community outreach and education.”

Tampa Bay Watch and its oyster restoration program have restored natural shorelines and improved water quality in parts of Tampa Bay.  The group’s strong education and grassroots community outreach draws thousands of volunteers.

Dr. Guy Harvey, celebrated internationally for his marine wildlife artwork and his support of many ocean conservation initiatives, is counting on support from Outback Bowl fans to help raise awareness and funds by purchasing an official Guy Harvey-designed Outback Bowl T-Shirt.

“Tampa Bay is the largest open water estuary in the state of Florida and is designated as an estuary of national significance,” said Harvey, who holds a Ph. D in marine biology. “I’m honored to be able to help support the efforts of Tampa Bay Watch, which has played a key role in mobilizing the Tampa community to participate in restoration and conservation activities.”

Monies raised through the t-shirt give back program will be dedicated to Tampa shorelines to provide habitats for oysters.  Also called Reef Balls®, the oyster domes allow oysters to attach to a hard structure so they may grow into adults.

According to Tampa Bay Watch, oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. These newly created oyster bars and seawall reefs benefit Tampa Bay in many ways. They promote water quality benefits through biological filtering of the water (one adult oyster can filter up to 10 gallons of water per hour), provide habitat for small organisms, prevent further erosion, and create foraging areas and sanctuary for many species of fish and wildlife.

The oyster domes—24” in diameter, 18” tall and weighing approximately 100 lbs., have been an integral part of Tampa Bay Watch’s restoration programs for years and have been previously installed along Bayshore Blvd., MacDill Air Force Base and Ballast Point Park.  Tampa Bay Watch has built and installed over 11,000 oyster domes throughout Tampa Bay since the program began in 2000.

Guy Harvey-designed Outback Bowl T-Shirts are available online at www.OutbackBowlGear.com. Official t-shirts will also be available at all Outback Bowl pre-events, including Beach Day and Ybor Blast; Marriott Waterside and Hyatt Grande Hotels; 25 gameday locations at Raymond James Stadium and across from the ticket window on Tom McEwen Blvd., Raymond James Stadium beginning Dec. 30; and other select retailers around the Tampa area, including Lids Locker Room.

Logo courtesy Guy Harvey

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