Slurp in Support of the Billion Oyster Project at Pioneer Works on June 3

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Thanks to Billion Oyster Project, ecologically minded instructors are training a fleet of teenage marine biologists to help improve the health of the New York Harbor. Photo credit: Nancy Borowick


We wrote about the Harbor School’s amazing Billion Oyster Project for our current innovation issue — the ecological restoration project has seeded 11.5 million oysters and recycled over 50 tons of shells since their soft launch in 2010. With a visit from Bill Clinton and a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation under its belt, the fledgling initiative is well on its way to reach its billion oyster goal by 2030. While New York Harbor oysters are still a long way from being edible, you can still toast to their future success: Join the Billion Oyster Project, chef Ben Pollinger of Oceana, and 30 oyster farmers from around the country at Pioneer Works on June 3.

The party includes a walk-around tasting with 30 farmers hailing from Maine, the Carolinas and the West Coast. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a huge variety of oysters side-by-side and speak with the people that harvest them. The best part? Proceeds will benefit the Harbor School and the Billion Oyster Project, allowing their staff to develop a curriculum that is accessible for middle schoolers citywide and, ultimately, nationwide. “Our focus is all five schools in all five boroughs,” director of development Carrie Christenson says. “The middle school piece of it was really our way to be able to export it out to the 1.1 million students in the public schools of New York City. Really, in the long-term, we see this as a model that can easily be replicated.”

The $150 ticket includes full access to the event including a sponsored bar. Can’t make it but still want to support their great work? Vote once daily to help them win a $25,000 grant through SolutionSearch or volunteer one afternoon to help build “oyster condos,” cement reef balls, and wire mesh sleeves for baby oysters. If gorgeous harbor views and supporting our precious ecosystem aren’t enough to get you out to Governors Island, bear in mind that each volunteer shift ends with (farm-raised) oysters on the half shell.

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