Professor Lauren Birney talks with the NSF about The Billion Oyster Project.

February 6, 2017--The National Science Foundation Science Nation video “Hands-on learning research that benefits the economy, environment" featuring School of Education Professor Lauren Birney and The Billion Oyster Project has been released and can be viewed here.

The Billion Oyster Project, the brainchild of the New York Harbor School, aims to enlist hundreds of thousands of city school children to restore a billion oysters to city waters. “Students are driving the restoration of New York Harbor,” School of Education Professor Lauren Birney, Principal Investigator on the grant project said.

With a $5M grant from the National Science Foundation Birney is co-leading a powerhouse group of collaborators to build upon the Harbor School’s project and target “middle-school students in low-income neighborhoods with high populations of English language learners and students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] and education pathways.”

The Billion Oyster Project is a community of students and teachers, professional scientists and citizen scientist volunteers, schools, universities, businesses, and community organizations, working together to conduct oyster restoration-based scientific research in New York Harbor. The work is funded through a three-year educational research grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (NSF-DRL).

A local research consortium has articulated an educational model known as “Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science” (CCERS) which is led by principal investigators and senior personnel from Pace University School of Education, New York Harbor Foundation, New York City Department of Education’s Office of STEM, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York Academy of Sciences, and the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science. 

“Science Nation” is a video series commissioned by the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. The series is distributed throughout the world, on the Internet and local community TV stations in the U.S. Some episodes also appear in the nationally-distributed PBS documentary series This American Land.