September in the City, The New York Harbor School’s Anniversary – and Oysters

September draws New Yorkers back to town, school and work with renewed focus and determination. At The Moore Charitable Foundation, we are looking forward to a lively and momentous month, with events including the critical conversations of Climate Week NYC 2015, and several celebrations showcasing the visionary work of our partners as they push the boundaries of conservation in the city and beyond. We will observe September 11, 2001 with solemnity and sorrow and encourage New Yorkers to visit the extremely poignant 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

A milestone worth noting is The New York Harbor School’s anniversary. More than a decade ago, The Harbor School opened its doors in Bushwick Campus High School to 125 freshmen in Brooklyn. Determined to make a difference to the community’s poor graduation rate, and in spite of its land-locked location, the school presented a maritime-focused academic program and infused the standard curriculum with highly compelling, water-related subjects. Exposing students to local bodies of water, from the Harbor of New York, to the Hudson River and the Gowanus Canal, classroom topics were brought to life – as was the student body. By 2010, Harbor School had improved the local graduation rate by more than 200 percent, and had set its sights on a new location closer to the water.

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Photo (c) New York Harbor School

In 2010, The Harbor School relocated to Governors Island, and expanded its offering to students from all over the city. Today, the school serves four hundred and thirty-five students, who come from neighborhoods across the city, all of whom are focused on marine science and technology: in addition to the traditional academic courses, all students at the school enroll in one of six career and technical education (CTE) programs of study. One such program is the Billion Oyster Project (BOP), an ecosystem restoration and education project aimed at restoring one billion live oysters to New York Harbor. Students at New York Harbor School have been engaged in the program for six years, growing and restoring oysters in New York Harbor.

From SCUBA diving and raising oyster larvae, to conducting long-term research projects in the harbor itself, the school and BOP have attracted attention from both scholars and the press. We commend the project for its commitment to improving the local marine environment and to fostering the next generation of conservationists. We look forward to celebrating Harbor School’s many successes at the Fifth Annual New York Harbor Regatta on September 18th. We encourage everyone to join in for a fantastic day on the water in support of this visionary public school and the groundbreaking programs that are improving the city’s waters and inspiring students.

We will continue to celebrate the historic and ecological importance of oysters during New York Oyster Week. From September 10-27, events across the city will honor “the oyster’s considerable and extraordinary role in the history, culture, cuisine, economy and ecology of New York.” Check out the calendar of events and learn about oysters’ incredible ability to filter and maintain the waters of our busy harbor.

Bon appetit – and happy September. It’s good to be back.

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