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A Day in the Life of a BOP Intern

By admin
July 9, 2014

My name is Sarah Meyer I am a rising senior at Southern Methodist University studying education and psychology. I knew very little about environmental science and marine biology prior to working with the New York Harbor School. I had only been to New York twice before as a tourist with my family. I was starting my work interning under Sam Janis preparing for the Camp RESTORE ( summer sessions. The day I arrived I jumped right into a training program at the New York Harbor School..

New York Harbor School Training:

Week 1:

The first week with the Harbor School was a training program with Good Shepard ( starting on Governors Island. I became familiar with water testing, building oyster cages, counting oyster spat, learning how oysters spawn and much more. The first day was an overview of marine biology and ocean engineering. The marine biology portion involved taking water samples from the Hudson River and bringing them back into the lab where the educators tested for nitrates, nitrites, oxygen levels and solidity. We also looked at samples under microscopes for phytoplankton and zooplankton. Along with looking at water samples, we also looked at oysters under the microscopes and became familiar with sea squirts, anemones, and other sea organisms. After lunch we moved onto ocean engineering, where we learned how to teach children how to make under water robots go through different obstacles. Along with creating the robots the students will have to create their own remote for the robots. The second day was relocated to Red Hook in Brooklyn. The morning consisted of building oyster cages. The second half of the day was spent kayaking down the Hudson River. With one capsize and a few broken paddles we unfortunately never made it to our final destination Sunset Park. We ended the day with brainstorming activities for the students and what went well and not so well over the past two days.

The second group of educators from other community groups and summer programs came on Wednesday. We started off the same as with the first group. We went over how to do water testing with the Hudson River samples, and how to find organisms under microscopes. The next day with the second group we built oyster cages and counted baby oysters on shells. Each group counted 300 oysters and measured 50 with a caliper for their own cages. Two New York Harbor School graduates drove a boat with us on it to analyze new and old oysters down the river to the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Here we analyzed old oysters that had been there for a few years and brand new oysters. We could tell the ecosystem was thriving from the oysters by the amount of other sea life in the cages; including thousands of sea squirts, blue crabs (see below) and shrimp.

To say the least I learned a lot. I now know more about oysters and the ecosystem they create then ever before. I am aware of the lack of life the Hudson River had years past and how much life has come into the River just in the past few years. Not only has learning about all this been fascinating but also I feel educated enough to educate students and others about the impact oysters can make on an ecosystem (or lack of).

Week 2:

            The second week started in Staten Island with a new group of educators at Makerspace( They were introduced to the water testing as well. On site there was a Bio Bus ( with fancy high tech microscopes for looking at organisms up close and personal. This group also learned how to create their own oyster cages as well as how to count oyster spat. After all the baby oysters were counted the cages were complete we took them down to the waterfront where we tied up the cages to the pier.

The last group of educators from The River Project ( met on Pier 40 on Houston St. We met on the pier where there were tanks of local Hudson River inhabitants, including seahorses. The animals are fed live food and the Hudson River flows through their tanks to create a natural environment. The educators were taught about the pollution of the Hudson River and the positive effect oysters have on it. They then built their oyster cages and counted young and old oysters. The cages were tied up to the pier by the end of the day.


I am more than thrilled to be here this summer and be knee deep in learning about not only the impact of the oysters but how to educate children on how to restore their own backyard. blue crab photo 2photo 1