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BOPost Director’s Debrief, December 2016

By admin
December 13, 2016

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Dear Friends of Billion Oyster Project,

Billion Oyster Project is based on the belief that there is magic in the natural world. That direct engagement with wild animals and functioning ecosystems has a transformative effect on young people. Anyone who has grown up close to nature or has had the privilege of visiting and interacting with natural spaces as a child knows this to be true.

As our world is increasingly urbanized, more and more people are coming of age separated from nature. Simultaneously, efforts abound aimed at increasing engagement in school and thus improving outcomes for millions of young people. Too often, these interventions exist in the vacuum of school without the real-world, hands-on implementation that leads to improved self-confidence, authentic problem solving, teamwork, and the belief that anyone and everyone has the power to effect change. This separation from nature is compounded by the current state of the natural world. We are living at a time of unprecedented anthropogenic extinctions, we have expanded our influence over the globe to the climate and are actively changing the systems that sustain life on earth. As our population grows, our hunger for natural resources has never been higher. Never in history have natural places and wild animals been in more danger and never have they needed stronger allies.

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The nexus of these twin challenges is in cities, all of which have been built on or near and at the expense of natural systems. BOP introduces young people to meaningful work that will both prepare them for their own futures and prepare them to take their places as good stewards of the natural world.  It links them with the city where they live, and their fellow New Yorkers.

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.  

 

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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We’re deeply encouraged by the work that’s been done– but there is much more to do.  And none of this would be possible without the continued support of you, the members of the BOP community. Please consider making a donation to our annual appeal to help continue this work.

We wish you and your families a joyful and restful Holiday season, and we look forward to working with you, and celebrating with you, in 2017!

Pete

 

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