The Billion Oyster Project is a nonprofit organization on a mission to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives.
Why oysters? Their reefs provide habitat for many marine species, have the ability to filter water, protect water quality, and help shield New York City shorelines from storm damage.
Founded on the belief that restoration without education is temporary, and observing that learning outcomes improve when students have the opportunity to work on real restoration projects, Billion Oyster Project collaborates with public schools.
The crew designs STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) curriculum for NYC schools through the lens of oyster restoration, and engages Urban Assembly New York Harbor School students in large-scale restoration projects. The project also collects discarded oyster shells from 75 NYC restaurants, and engages the local community in restoration and public education.
The project has planted 47 million oysters across 12 acres and 15 reef sites, with the help of more than 8,000 students and 10,000 volunteers. Educators can check out the resources correlated to NYC Science Scope & Sequence. These resources include lesson plans for grades 4-12, information on class engagement including hosting a classroom oyster tank, hands on curriculum, and field trips.
You can watch a video on Billion Oyster Project. Or, explore the biodiversity of New York by downloading the free NY Harbor Species Identification Guide. And, engage students with Ecosystems Engineers curriculum for grades 4-10, developed by Billion Oyster Project.