The World is My Me (or, Bringing Oysters Back)

Can you think of a better way to spend a sunny Tuesday morning than in East River State Park learning about oysters? If you can - let us know, because we couldn't! On Tuesday, September 15, the Human Impacts Institute partnered up once again with the New York Harbor School and their now-three-year-old initiative - the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) - to lead a workshop on the effort to bring oysters back to the NY Harbor.

Way back in the 1600’s when Hudson first sailed up the eponymous river erroneously seeking India, he no doubt sailed right over tons and tons of oyster beds. However, after centuries of over-harvesting, industrial waste, and water pollution, the oyster population has been decimated, to the detriment of our waterways’ health and resiliency. The Billion Oyster Project is working to restore (you guessed it) one billion oysters back into the New York harbor as well as to educate NYC’ers on oysters’ value to our ecosystem.

Sam Janis, the Restoration Program Manager at the Harbor School, led our workshop, and helped us assess how our oysters have been faring, which we a little nervous of, given this incident and the Project’s generous addition.

Sam set up three different stations for observing oysters: one for measuring water quality, pH and salinity, another for measuring the sizes of live oysters and the last was for observing the oysters in the cage. We could then input the information into an app that would store all of the measurements.

Although sea squirts (yes, they do as their name suggests!) were attached to some the oysters stole the spotlight for a bit, the kids got right down to business to start measuring and recording their oyster information. We are extremely grateful to Sam, the Harbor School, and the BOP for leading the workshop - and for leading the work to reintroduce our bivalve buddies!

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