PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Once one of the richest oyster grounds in the United States, the New York Harbor now lies barren, devoid of the once plentiful mollusks. Pace University, in conjunction with the Billion Oyster Project, hopes to restore the briny delights to prominence in the New York City once again.
From the discovery of Manhattan up until the late 1800's, the brackish rivers surrounding the island were once a fertile breeding ground for oysters. However, by the turn of the 20th century the shellfish population plummeted, largely due to increased sediment, dredging, human consumption and pollution, according to the Billion Oyster Project.
As a response, the project was formed, and aims to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor while engaging hundreds of thousands of school children through restoration based education programs. In addition to their culinary appeal, oyster also play a vital role in a healthy marine ecosystem by acting as natural water filters.
A vital component in the oyster restoration process is teacher training and curriculum development, which takes place at Pace University. There, educator team up with biologists and preservation experts to help draft lesson plans aimed at teaching students across New York City's public schools and actually getting their hands wet.
The goal of this inaugural class of teachers is to help create a teaching module that is applicable to K-12 students, and can be implemented by teachers across the region.
Pace University and the Billion Oyster Project were recently featured on a NBC Learn segment, which can be viewed here .