July 2, 2015

New York Harbor NSF STEM Project Design Week, Part 1

On June 17th and 18th, Judy O’Neil, Simon Costanzo, Suzi Spitzer and I traveled north to New York City to attend a series of meetings and events leading up to the inaugural Billion Oyster Project Symposium. This very productive trip will be split into two blog posts, one for the first two days of events, talks, and meetings, and another for the official Billion Oyster Project Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium on Friday, June 19th.

We left the Eastern Shore of Maryland at 5am on Wednesday morning, a bit bleary eyed yet thoroughly prepared to take on the Big Apple. We caught the Ferry from Paulus Hook in Jersey City (where we were staying) to Manhattan, where we had our first meeting at 10am.

Ferry-dock

We often took the Ferry from Jersey City over to Manhattan. Credit: Dylan Taillie

During our first meeting at Pace University School of Education we heard progress updates from many of our partners on the project. These partners include Dr. Lauren Birney (Pace University), Mr. Sam Janis (Billion Oyster Project), Dr. Robert Newton (Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), Dr. Meghan Groome (New York Academy of Sciences), Ms. Gaylen Moore (Moore Program Evaluation Services), Dr. Lisa Kohne (SmartStart Educational Evaluations), and Mr. Peter Malinowski (New York Harbor School). We also discussed the curriculum for Middle School teachers, the restoration based science model and the drafting of a Field Guide for Middle School students and teachers.

Next we headed over to Battery Park to meet with Kate Boicourt of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program and Jim Lodge of the Hudson River Foundation about the possibility of collaborating on work for the World Harbor Project (WHP). The WHP is a global, multi-disciplinary, collaborative project working to develop more resilient urban ports through information sharing, networking, and research.

Caption: The view of Battery Park from the Hudson River Foundation’s Office. Credit: Dylan Taillie

A view of Battery Park from the Hudson River Foundation Office. Credit: Dylan Taillie

Later that evening Sam Janis hosted a ‘Soiree’ at his apartment in Brooklyn during which we couldn’t help but brainstorm more ideas for the project, although it was meant to be a relaxing occasion.

Brainstorming and relaxing at Sam Janis’ apartment in Brooklyn just after sunset. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Brainstorming and relaxing at Sam Janis’ apartment in Brooklyn just after sunset. Credit: Judy O’Neil

On Thursday we started off our day with another meeting at Pace University’s School of Education during which IAN team members Tracey Saxby and Adrian Jones unveiled the digital monitoring platform application that students, teachers, and citizen-scientists will be using to collect and record field data. This meeting was a great opportunity for everyone to review the new app and to collaborate on solutions to make sure it is easy, accessible, accurate, and fun.

Tacey and Adrian video called in from Canada in order to explain the platform they developed. Credit: Dylan Taillie

Next on our agenda Thursday was a meeting with Bernice Malione, Assistant Director of Environmental Compliance for the Port Authority of NY & NJ. We wanted to touch base with Bernice about the World Harbor Project because shipping, economic indicators, and green engineering will all be included in analysis of NY-Harbor when contributing to the WHP.

Bernice’s office at World Trade Center 4 had an amazing view of the WTC Memorial. Credit: Suzi Spitzer

Bernice’s office at World Trade Center 4 had an amazing view of the WTC Memorial.          Credit: Suzi Spitzer

Thursday concluded with a ‘collaboratory’ celebration event at Pace University, at which food, wine, and oysters were served. There were several presentations including teachers telling success stories of integrating STEM, an introduction to STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) and even a video of a student who became engaged in class by bravely eating different species of insects (we learned a new word: entomophagy) in front of her classmates.

Suzi, Judy, and Dylan in front of Pace University just before the STEM celebration event on Thursday. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Suzi, Judy, and Dylan in front of Pace University just before the STEM celebration event on Thursday. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Our first two days in New York were very active, productive, and fun. While re-learning to navigate NYC and bouncing back and forth from meeting to event to meeting we still managed to see some of the sights, pictured below.

Judy, Dylan, and Suzi walked up the Promenade on the incredible Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday afternoon. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Judy, Dylan, and Suzi walked up the Promenade on the incredible Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday afternoon. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Dylan gazes out at NY Harbor from our apartment in Jersey City while Simon and Suzi pose for the picture. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Dylan gazes out at NY Harbor from our apartment in Jersey City while Simon and Suzi pose for the picture. Credit: Judy O’Neil

The dawn skyline view from our apartment in Jersey City. Credit: Judy O’Neil

The dawn skyline view from our apartment in Jersey City. Credit: Judy O’Neil

Judy and Simon navigating the Big Apple as the World Trade Center looms in the background. Credit: Dylan Taillie

Judy and Simon navigating the Big Apple as the World Trade Center looms in the background. Credit: Dylan Taillie

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About the author
Science Communication Assistant Dylan Taillie is an Eastern Shore native and enthusiastic recent graduate of Tulane University.
Website: http://ian.umces.edu/people/Dylan_Taillie/
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Filed under: Science Communication,Learning Science — Tags: , , — Dylan Taillie @ 10:00 am

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