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Billion Oyster Profile: Stephen Velez

By Susannah Black
March 14, 2015

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As a New York Harbor School senior, I’ve experienced many events over the years. From freshman year to senior year many opportunities have come around. Sophomore year was the first official introduction to the Billion Oyster Project (BOP). I was given the opportunity to intern after school to help maintain the lab and oyster production center. Mr. Malinowski and co-teacher Luis Melendez assisted interns to successfully be able to maintain systems on their own.

The summer after sophomore year I was also interning for the BOP. Throughout this internship many middle school students were educated on what restoration and its benefits were. Students would arrive to Governors Island on a student operated vessel (Indy 7). On days were students were not present, interns would work on the Ecodock to count, sort, and prepare oysters for the Governors Island reef.


Currently in my aquaculture class we just finished a spawn which will also contribute to the BOP. This can possibly add another 10 million oysters that will be added for restoration. In the class we basically provide the foundation to the project since we produce and grow the oysters and their food.

 In all this was a very different and unique experience that many high school students may never experience. This will follow on with me for many years to be able to say I contributed to this project.