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New York Harbor School to Show Off Oyster Program to Arne Duncan

By Kristen Meriwether
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 22, 2013 Last Updated: February 24, 2013
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Instructor Pete Malinowski helps students from New York Harbor School place live oysters on Soundview Reef. (Ildiko Reisenbigler for USACE)

Instructor Pete Malinowski helps students from New York Harbor School place live oysters on Soundview Reef. (Ildiko Reisenbigler for USACE)

NEW YORK—The national head of education will visit New York Harbor School on Friday to understand how one of the city’s most unique career and technical education public schools operates.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be observing students building underwater robots, repairing a boat, practicing water rescues, and even breeding oysters for harbor restoration. The school is situated on Governor’s Island, and accessible only by ferry.

Friday’s tour will also include Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. 

Duncan’s tour is part of a national call to strengthen America’s career and technical education. 

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Oyster Restoration Program

A student at the New York Harbor School cuts wood to use for the boat that his class is constructing. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch TImes)

A student at the New York Harbor School cuts wood to use for the boat that his class is constructing. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch TImes)

See what a day is like for New York Harbor School students and learn more about their oyster restoration program. 

New York Harbor School, the city’s first maritime high school in over 15 years, is looking to take environmental stewardship past recycling and composting. By actively engaging its high school students in a large-scale oyster restoration project, the school hopes to not just clean up the waterways surrounding New York, but restore it to the bountiful ecosystem it once was.”

“New York Harbor School was landlocked in Bushwick, Brooklyn, for its first seven years making it difficult to work on the project. Students had to travel 45 minutes by train to work on the project. A move to Governor’s Island in 2010 opened up opportunities that Fisher never knew were possible.

New state-of-the-art equipment and closer proximity to the water has allowed for a substantial increase in the number of oysters the students grow and maintain.

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Murray Fisher, Co-founder of New York Harbor School

Murray Fisher realized early in his life that though he loved nature, he loved people more. Above, with students at New York Harbor School, which he co-founded. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Murray Fisher realized early in his life that though he loved nature, he loved people more. Above, with students at New York Harbor School, which he co-founded. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

New York Harbor School was co-founded by Murray Fisher, who opened the doors in 2003. Learn more about how Fisher’s passion for nature and love of people helped him live his dream of opening New York Harbor School. 

The eight-month internship took him around Peru and Bolivia. “I would just live in a tent and travel around the area with a machete and binoculars,” Fisher recalled.

Outside of a few local contacts, Fisher was alone for most of the eight months. The secluded journey proved transformative.

“Well, it told me I didn’t want to be a biologist,” Fisher said with a laugh, adding in a more serious tone, “It was really interesting. I realized I loved nature, I loved wildlife, and I loved the environment, but I loved people more.”

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