New York Harbor School

Located on Governors Island in New York City, New York Harbor School has a stunning view of the New York Harbor, Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. High school students take a ferry to get to the island, where in addition to regular classes they learn about the environment through hands-on projects. In this video Pete Malinowski, aquaculture teacher, and his students are speaking about the oyster restoration project in New York Harbor, a project which is part of their curriculum.

Oyster reef restoration

High-school students and educators at Rocking the Boat, New York City, restore oyster reefs in the Bronx River in collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Bronx River Alliance.

Videography: Alex Kudryavtsev (Cornell University), Dawn Henning (Rocking the Boat). Narrators: Govin Baichu (Rocking the Boat), Robert Leaf (NYC Department of Parks & Recreation).

Restoring salt marshes

Chrissy Word, an educator at Rocking the Boat in the Bronx, collecting mussels in salt marshes along the Bronx River during low tide. Scientists will analyze these mollusks to design a restoration project to bring more mussels to the Bronx River.

Students from Rocking the Boat will be maintaining restored ecosystems with mussels.

NYC police on the other bank of the river were observing us harvesting these animals.

Oyster reef restoration

Rocking the Boat students in collaboration with the Natural Resources Group (Parks Department) and Bronx River Alliance restoring oyster reefs at the mouth of the Bronx River, the Bronx.

Restoring the Bronx River Forest

Students from the Mosholu Preservation Corporation in the North Bronx installing biodegradable fabric to control invasive species and prevent soil erosion. Student’s mentor, Nia, used to be a student at Rocking the Boat. Now she studies the environment at Binghamton University, and in summer she helps MPC organize environmental restoration with younger high-school students.

Floating island

Students at Phipps Community Development Corporation building an artificial floating island on the Bronx River, New York City. Materials: native plants, plastic bottles, mesh, and a metal pole.

Oyster reefs


Many years ago the Bronx River was know for oysters that provided delicious food for people and filtered water. Oyster reefs and most other original ecosystems in the Bronx River have been wiped out by industrial pollution, residential sewage, and channeling the river for freight transportation.

Rocking the Boat, a youth education organization in the South Bronx, collaborates with other organizations to bring oysters back to the Bronx River. Today I have participated in an oyster monitoring field trip with students and Chrissy Word, the Director of Public Programs in Rocking the Boat. They were observing how oysters are doing in one of oyster gardens, which has been created by Rocking the Boat a while ago. Usually oysters live in habitats that they create for themselves, where younger oysters attach and grow on older oysters. It is not easy to establish a new habitat for oysters, especially in the Bronx River, which still has some pollution and a different composition of species. However, educators and students in the Rocking the Boat are working hard to restore oyster reefs in the Bronx River to make it a more sustainable ecosystem.