Who Are They?
Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is a US NGO which aims to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives. Why oysters? Because their reefs have the ability to filter water, provide a habitat for many marine species, and help shield NYC shorelines from storm damage. Founded on the belief that restoration without education is temporary, the project aims to engage hundreds of thousands of school children. For more information about the organization:
Billion Oysters Project, NYC
Volunteering days (April 17th and May 8th) to help restore NYC Harbor with the Billion Oysters Project
What Did We Do?
On April 17th and May 8th, eight Dataiku employees volunteered in order to help the BOP restore New York Harbor with billions of oysters. During these two days, they met all volunteers at the MAST school located on the island then walked over to one of the old military houses that is used by BOP for work building the oyster cages.
On the first day, they had to take all 500 of the existing cages out of the garage in order to pick out those which were incorrectly built and would not meet standards. Since the cages have to be perfectly aligned or they could cause the structures to fall apart, it is really important to check they are made correctly. After this, the Dataiku volunteers were assigned to put the lids on the bent cages (other groups were in charge of making the lids and bending the cages as well). During the second day, groups would put oyster shells into the cages and seal them by putting lids on the other side, where they would then be put into the ocean.
The hope is to put one billion oysters back in New York Harbor, as it is one of the most polluted harbors in the United States. Oysters are bivalves, meaning as they eat they also filter the water they are in. New York used to have so many oysters that in specific parts of Brooklyn, people could walk a hundred meters into the bay on the oyster beds. They have since died off due to pollution and over harvesting.
« It was great to be part of the Billion Oyster Project. During our day we helped do quality control on the cages that were being built, and we put lids on them. I’m excited to know that these oyster-filled cages will help to restore our beloved harbor. I would recommend this to everyone!! »Gonzalo B.
« It was really inspiring to learn, witness in action, and participate in BOP’s mission to help mitigate water pollution. The global community effort to support such an important cause was astounding. And towards the end of the day, you can see how much your group has accomplished, fascinating! »Alex H.
« The Billion Oyster Project was a special experience for many reasons. You don’t often think of marine ecology projects in a city so kindly referred to as the « concrete jungle. » It was a perfect combination of informative and, actually, pretty hard work building the steel oyster cages. But honestly, more than that, it was just a fun day spent out of the office with people I don’t usually get to work with. »Abby Z.
« On April 17th, Gonzalo and myself volunteered with the Billion Oyster Project. At the time we were located at our old office, which was in the financial district. Due to this we simply just walked a few extra blocks and took the ferry over to Governor’s Island. It was an amazing day on the Island. I personally pulled 16 cages that weren’t correct and after this we were assigned a task to do to begin to build out the cages. Gonzalo and I were both assigned to put the lids on the bent cages. The task we had was by far the most rewarding as you could see the cages come into shape and the hard work of everyone involved come together. »Rebecka F.
« I really enjoyed my day volunteering at The Billion Oyster Project. In addition to spending a beautiful day on Governors Island, it was incredibly rewarding to build cages to put the oysters in to help the NY ecosystem. The project started as part of a school project (there is a public school on Governors Island) and it was great they have been able to turn it into a project for the public to get involved with. »Katherine C.
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