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Citizen Scientist: Meet Lindsay!

By admin
November 20, 2015

The Citizen Science and Community Engagement aspect of oyster restoration science, or the more adult-centered counterpart to the BOP STEM Curriculum, Schools, and Teaching Fellowship, is an essential piece of the BOP CCE-RS model and crucial to the mission of the Billion Oyster Project and health of the New York harbor.

The Community Engagement feature of the BOP CCE-RS model is manifested in a number of BOP initiatives.  These include the BOP Oyster Shell Collection program, whereby restaurants can choose to recycle their oyster shells for pickup by the BOP-mobile and later be used as substrate (homes) for oyster spat (oyster babies), volunteer days, and the Restoration Research program, where any interested citizen can become trained in oyster ecology and restoration, build their own restoration station (oyster cage), receive their own spat-on-shell oysters (baby oysters on recycled oyster shells), and participate in an important citizen science component of data collection, oyster restoration, and rejuvenation of the New York Harbor.

Those concerned citizens interested in oyster restoration and BOP’s Community Engagement programs are unique and committed individuals; it is remarkable to find a member of the community who participates in more than one BOP Community Engagement program.  Meet Lindsey!

Lindsey 3

Lindsey is a freshly trained Restoration Researcher with her very own restoration station and oyster reef located in the East River, and also works for the Dinex Restaurant Group with some of NYC’s finest restaurants participating in BOP’s Shell Collection program. We caught up with Lindsey to give us her BOP story.

How did you come across BOP?

I first came across BOP while a bartender at an oyster bar. I was doing a lot of reading and research on oysters purely out of my own interest in them (which eventually led to creating an oyster reference book for the staff) when I came across the BOP website. I had no idea it existed; I was very excited when I found it.

What inspired you to get involved?

Working in the food industry (I work for the Dinex restaurant group), food tends to naturally become the intersection and segue into a lot of different fields and experiences. Taking from what I have learned in food and college, I want to become more involved in ecological and wildlife issues, how culture and food effects these and vice versa, and of course the communities and groups that are involved. The BOP is one of these groups.

Lindsey 2

What drew you to become a citizen scientist and adopt your own oysters?

After discovering the BOP website, I was immediately drawn to their volunteer options and shell collection program for restaurants. I then discovered I could become a ‘citizen scientist’. Being able to monitor oyster spats grown on discarded oyster shells from various restaurants, bring interested employees of our restaurants to help monitor and then be able to sign up our restaurants to donate oyster shells in return; it was a close to full circle ‘bigger picture’ opportunity that was too good to pass up. I also simply love being hands on in both learning and creating things, plus being so smitten with the bivalves, it seemed a natural step to further my interests in them.

Lindsey 1

What was your favorite part about the Education and Restoration Weekend training?

I really enjoyed having a guest expert talk to us about what they are looking for from the BOP research, from our data as well as the advancements they are making in the monitoring technologies. Being a part of a bigger community that genuinely cares about the environment and had fun making their own cage was great. I was fortunate to meet a lot of people during the training who are involved or head different art and environment groups/programs around the city. I left the weekend inspired and actually still talk to my training weekend partner!

Have you revisited your restoration station yet? How are your little oysters doing? Have you collected any data yet?

I have revisited my site since we last met. The little oysters are doing fine. When I went to record data, the current was much less than what we witnessed. I have recorded some data but only on paper. I have recently downloaded the data app and look forward to transferring all of my data to it very soon!