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What/Who is BOP-CCERS?

By Heather Flanagan
April 6, 2016

We are a community of students and teachers, professional scientists and citizen scientist volunteers, schools, universities, businesses, and community organizations, all working together to conduct oyster restoration-based scientific research in New York Harbor. Our work is premised on the fundamental principle that schools and communities can and should play direct, active, and authentic roles in the ecological restoration and stewardship of the planet, especially in places where local habitats and species have been severely degraded by human development. Our theory of change is that school is made more meaningful and student learning enhanced when curricula are aligned to a local restoration ecology project requiring students to do authentic problem solving, data collection, experimentation, and research. Our work is funded through a three-year educational research grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (NSF-DRL).

As a result of this generous support from NSF-DRL, our local research consortium has articulated an educational model known as “Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science” (CCERS). BOP Schools and Citizen Science serves as the local anchor project of CCERS. CCERS is led by principal investigators and senior personnel from Pace University School of Education, New York Harbor Foundation, New York City Department of Education’s Office of STEM, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York Academy of Sciences, and the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science. Local implementing partners include Good Shepherd Services, New York Aquarium-WCS, The River Project, and Cell Motion Labs/BioBase. In total, our ten core partners are collectively responsible for development of the CCERS model, its five programmatic pillars, and for helping to chart the course of the BOP Schools and Citizen Science Program, the long-term anchor project of the model.

Ultimately, we envision BOP-CCERS resulting in both social and environmental justice outcomes: historically underserved schools gain thriving STEM education programs; students and families in historically marginalized communities gain access to the Harbor for recreation, education, and economic advancement; and the Harbor itself is ecologically revitalized as evidenced through increasing biodiversity and the return of stable populations of local keystone species – such as the Eastern Oyster!

Interested in reading more about BOP-CCERS and how we’re bringing hands-on restoration science to classrooms all over the city?  Sign up for our newsletter and click here to read all BOP-CCERS posts!