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Upper Elementary Students Present Seven Projects at Annual Billion Oyster Project Symposium

Our Elementary and Middle School STEAM program partners each year with local organizations that support conservation and revitalization in the local community. This year, our school worked alongside the Billion Oyster Project to support the oyster repopulation in the New York Harbor.

The harbor was once bursting with oysters, but pollution and overfishing caused the oyster population to dwindle to dangerously low levels. Since 2014, the Billion Oyster Project has installed over 50 million oysters in New York’s harbors and hopes to reach one billion by 2035 with the community’s help.

Earlier this year, the Upper elementary students visited the project’s headquarters on Governor’s Island to view the research stations, see shrimp, crabs, and other species that use oyster reefs as their habitat, and helped to build oyster crates.

The Billion Oyster Project holds a symposium each June where local students present the research they’ve completed during the school year on oysters and other species of the New York Harbor.

Over 100 projects from 200 students were submitted to the 2022 symposium. Twelve of our students submitted seven projects this year; three projects received special recognition:

  • Avi M. presented a year-long study on climate change and how it impacts oysters. The project incorporated other research projects presented at this year’s STEM fair and Hudson River Data Jam on ways to combat the impacts of climate change through raising awareness of CO2 emissions.

  • Elijah M. showcased his winning World Fish Migration Day art submission and presented research on fish migratory habits and their role in our local waterways.

  • Zach C. designed a building game in Minecraft that mimicked the ways oysters build their habitat. By forming reefs in the New York Harbor, oysters help break down waves, filter pollutants, and serve as a home for other wildlife.

  • Anish D., Elijah M., Michael B., and Aditya P. presented on their year-long oyster shell collection project. The students drafted and sent letters to local restaurants asking for donations of oyster shells that normally would be discarded in the trash. Instead, the students gifted these shells back to the Billion Oyster Project to be reused and help oysters create new reefs. A large suitcase of over 200 shells were brought to the Billion Oyster Project’s headquarters in Governor’s Island at the end of the school year. The students also showcased the data they had collected on oyster growth at the school's adopted Battery Park oyster research station.

Exemplary Award Winners:

  • Krisha S. unveiled two canvas portraits created using recycled materials as her artistic medium. Small pieces of trash and plastic that often end up in the river, like soda tabs, were taken from trash to treasure as upcycled art.

  • Alexandra B., Ziva M., and Mira S. created an entertaining Powtoon teaching viewers about the oyster population in the New York Harbor. This educational video explained the role oysters play in our local ecosystem and why it’s so important we all do our part to protect them.

  • Seher K. and Jaanvi C. presented a new chapter of their novel they began writing last year titled Hudson’s Trio: A Travel Back in Time. The 32-page chapter continues the fictional storyline based on the uniqueness of the Hudson River. The novel explains the history of the river basin chronologically and how the river was polluted. The latest chapter transitions to highlighting the passage of the Clean Water Act and how it impacted the Hudson River’s health.

To learn more about Hudson Montessori School’s Upper Elementary, STEAM Program, or other programs we offer to our students ages 2 to middle school, sign up for an open house tour.

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