Elizabeth’s Experience with the Million Oyster Project

On service day, the 12th grade volunteered at The Million Oyster Project, a non-profit that is based in New York City. The Million Oyster Project is an ecosystem restoration project that is hoping to bring one billion oysters back to the New York Harbor. Oysters have the ability to filter water while also providing habitats for other marine life. Due to pollution, over harvesting and other detrimental human factors, the population of Oysters in the New York Harbor  has significantly decreased so that oysters are “functionally extinct”. This non-profit works with schools and volunteers to educate people on the importance of oysters and marine life when preserving an ecosystem. Last week our grade went to Governors Island and participated in two different workshops. My group first started by gathering, washing, and filing away oyster shells that have been gathered by and sent to The Million Oyster Project by restaurants and bars all over the city. This was a cold and somewhat complicated task; however, we made an assembly line and the process went smoothly. In the afternoon, our group helped to assemble metal crates The Million Oyster Project, marine biologists and other students would use to examine and study different oyster species and shells before being returned to the harbor. It was a welcomed change to the colder and more laboring morning task, but equally as important. It was a fun day spent bonding with friends and getting to know more about the importance of not just oysters in our harbor’s ecosystem, but the importance of marine life in general when preserving and protecting our water. I look forward to seeing (and hopefully participating in) more connections between The Million Oyster Project, Friends, and other schools around the city!

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