In recognition of World Ocean Day, Billion Oyster Project announced a new data collection system powering its efforts to restore one billion oysters by 2035 to benefit the N.Y. Harbor habitat and water quality
Billion Oyster Project (BOP) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) today announced BOP’s data collection efforts will now be powered by a brand new digital, cloud-based platform that will allow them to accelerate data collection and more effectively manage its efforts to restore and grow oyster beds in and around the New York Harbor area. The project’s goal is to scale to one billion oysters by 2035, which will help clarify the water, remove pollutants and restore marine habitats.
Over the past seven years, BOP has made impressive strides to restore oysters to N.Y. Harbor after they had been nearly extinct. The restoration initiative, which has been supported by 10,000 volunteers, is driven by community scientists, volunteers and 8,000+ local students in STEM education from 100 New York City schools — and seeks to raise awareness of the importance of protecting local waterways and their inhabitants.
“It took less than 100 years for New Yorkers to wipe out the native oyster population in and around New York City”, said Ann Fraioli, Director of Education at Billion Oyster Project. “As we seek to restore one of New York Harbor’s keystone species, the Billion Oyster Project Digital Platform has the power to transform how we operate. Digital data collection allows us to better manage contributions from community scientists, monitor oyster growth across our Harbor, and effectively plan how to scale our efforts over the next decade.”
The creation of the BOP Digital Platform was facilitated by the Morgan Stanley Technology Change Makers Program, a pro- bono initiative providing technical expertise and executional support for nonprofits and charity partners. In the past 18 months, a rotating team of Morgan Stanley volunteers worked with BOP to design and build the Billion Oyster Project Digital Platform (BOPDP), delivering a user-friendly, reliable platform that can easily be maintained by the BOP community. The new platform is cloud-based and will enable BOP to easily register and manage volunteer profiles, record and secure data, supervise oyster growth and allow the organization to pull reports from all boroughs to share with scientific, educational and civic partners.
“We are proud to have teamed up with BOP for this exciting project and to have made over 55 lessons available to teachers for the BOP education curriculum. Additionally, we’ve registered 175 oyster research stations to the new system bringing them on-line for collecting oyster measurements using cloud technologies”, said Stephen Kuster, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley. “It has been a rewarding experience to not only work on building this new platform and launching it, but also being able to take part in the restoration process first hand along with my sons.”
On April 22, Earth Day, the BOPDP was put to the test. To date, and we have collected over 750 oyster measurements with the new platform. Moving forward, Morgan Stanley plans to develop tools for migrating residual data from BOP’s legacy platform to the new platform.
“Our tech for good programs are about giving a charity the tools they need to be successful on their digital transformation journey”, said Stephen Mavin, CIO, Institutional Securities Technology and Co-Chair of Technology's Philanthropy Committee. “An organization like BOP is doing so much for the New York community – the ecosystem, science, students and educators. When we learned they needed help starting up their cloud-based digital platform, it was a no brainer to leverage our expertise in that area.”
The Morgan Stanley Technology Change Makers global program supports nonprofit and charity partners on their digital transformation journey, leveraging the power of technology to drive greater impact in the communities and populations they serve. In the past two years, the initiative has supported more than 30 nonprofit organizations. Recent projects have focused on deploying cloud technologies to crowdsource environmental data, using machine learning to optimize client onboarding processes, and advising organizations on best practices around cybersecurity.
About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.
About Billion Oyster Project
Billion Oyster Project is a nonprofit organization on a mission to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives. Why oysters? Their reefs provide habitat for many marine species, have the ability to filter water, and help shield New York City shorelines from storm damage. Founded on the belief that restoration without education is temporary, and observing that learning outcomes improve when students have the opportunity to work on real restoration projects, Billion Oyster Project collaborates with public schools. The crew designs STEM curriculum for NYC schools through the lens of oyster restoration, and engages Urban Assembly New York Harbor School students in large-scale restoration projects, collects discarded oyster shells from 75 NYC restaurants, and engages the local community. The project has planted more than 47 million oysters across 12 acres and 15 reef sites, with the help of more than 8,000 students and 10,000 volunteers.
Additional enhancements and features on the BOP CCERS Digital Platform will continue over the next three years through funding provided by the National Science Foundation, NSF DRL EHR 1759006/1839656 Principal Investigator Dr. Lauren Birney, Professor Pace University.