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BOP Holds First Annual Educators Training

By admin
June 30, 2013

Cages and Spat Collectors

BOP Educators First Annual Training

This past Thursday and Friday we hosted a professional development opportunity for middle school teachers and after school program coordinators. This was a truly amazing group of educators who are totally committed to providing the type of connection to the natural world that we value so much at Harbor School.  On Thursday, teachers received an introduction to the Billion Oyster Project, learned about water quality concerns in the harbor and how we are working to restore the estuarine environment through oyster restoration.  Each group received water quality monitoring equipment, and was trained by Sam and Jeremy on how to test for key parameters.  We spent the afternoon assembling oyster cages and conducting their first official bivalve monitor.  Each school or group received a cage with 300 newly settled spat on shell.  These oysters came from Fishers Island stock and were raised from fertilized eggs in our aquaculture lab.  We finished on Thursday by installing the cages temporarily at pier 101. We started the day on Friday with a sail on the Pioneer where educators received a Harbor literacy lesson from Ann and Jeremy, participated in a trawl, identified local species, learned navigation from rising Harbor senior Paul Blatt and of course, learned to shuck, dissect and eat oysters.  We returned to GI Friday afternoon to build spat collectors that were then attached to the cages.   The last step on Friday was a boat ride over to Brooklyn Bridge Park to install the cages there.
The end products are 15 oyster gardens that will be spread around the harbor from Jamaica Bay to the Harlem River and even Long Island Sound.  As these oysters mature they will begin to reproduce.  From a restoration point of view these breeding colonies could greatly increase the reproductive potential of New York harbor.  From an education standpoint these educators are greatly increasing the number of New York City public school children who will reach some level of environmental and harbor literacy before entering high school.  Each teacher represents 100 students that will be taught science through and other core subject through the lens of the estuary and oysters next year. That’s over 1,000 middle school students, each year as long as these teachers continue to implements the program.  Each garden comes with a growing collection of harbor, restoration and oyster based lessons that are aligned to the middle school scope and sequence.