Impact Story 23: The Billion Oyster Project: Real Results for Citizen Science, Reef Restoration, Community Building and Marine Education

Posted April 23, 2017

TALK ABOUT CITIZEN SCIENCE and community building at its best! The Billion Oyster Project (BOP)co-ordinated by Louis Bacon‘s Moore Charitable Foundation partner The New York Harbor School, is set to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor by 2030, engage hundreds of thousands of school children in marine restoration-based STEM education programs, and coordinate a network of hundreds of New York City restaurant and food businesses in the recycling of oyster shells for the reef.

The now citywide project grew out of the activities of students at the New York Harbor School who started growing and restoring oysters in New York Harbor in 2008.

Recent accolades are best captured by Peter Malinowski, BOP’s Director, in his December 2016 Debrief:

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“2016 has been a banner year for BOP. Throughout this past year we have doubled our staff, doubled our in-water research projects, collected our four hundred thousandth pound of shell and restored our 20 millionth oyster. We now have a team of highly skilled and incredibly hard-working professionals with a wide range of expertise. In these uncertain times, we are united by the belief that all New Yorkers, regardless of race, faith, sexual orientation, immigration status or country of origin are entitled to rigorous and exciting educational opportunities and a rich, abundant clean and safe Harbor.  We are committed to providing these opportunities, particularly for those in the most vulnerable communities, and to working towards that revitalized Harbor.

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Towards these ends, in collaboration with dozens of partners in 2016, we have trained 118 new teachers at seven professional development opportunities and nine citizen science workshops. These teachers represent 45 new schools and are maintaining and monitoring 118 new Oyster Restoration Stations. We also added 33 restaurants to our collection program, held four Oyster Socials, and collected 385 cubic yards of shell. At 40 volunteer days, 700 volunteers logged over 8,000 hours. Harbor School students along with BOP staff grew and restored 4,169,696 million oysters at 10 active restoration and research sites, of which six are new.  The restoration program carried out 34 monitoring events, with 71 total days in the field. Our new restoration vessel has, for the first time, allowed for rapid transport of students and reef structures throughout the Harbor in a hurry.”

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Impressive! Read more about The Billion Oyster Project here.