Premieres Tuesday, December 18 at 8 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel
On New York's Governor's Island, an unprecedented program has an ambitious goal: to restore once-bountiful oysters and the environmental benefits they bring to New York Harbor. What's more, the foot soldiers of this environmental movement are an unlikely group--high school students at a remarkable public school that teaches stewardship of the waterways alongside math and English. TAKE BACK THE HARBOR highlights the stories and work of these extraordinary students and their inspiring teachers as they persevere to turn the tide on decades of neglect and bring back the health of New York City waterways.
“In 2002, we decided to start this school. There’s an art school in New York, there’s finance, there’s sports schools, there’s every kind of public school, but there’s not a school about New York Harbor,” explains Murray Fisher, the creator of the New York Harbor School and Billion Oyster Project. Oysters are good for the harbor because they filter gallons and gallons of pollutants. Billion Oysters Project’s long-term goal is to restore one billion oysters to the New York Harbor by 2035.
We also see the dedication of these students, as they face the setbacks – for example they can only dive in the water if it has not rained for three consecutive days, because the water becomes polluted from combined sewage overflow, and the organization itself faces bureaucratic and red tape obstacles that require them to file for a permit that is thousands of pages long, in order to install the largest reef in New York City, with 50,000 oysters, in Jamaica Bay. As Katie Mosher puts it: “As a restoration community, we have to scale up. If we don’t scale up, we are not going to accomplish our goals and restore oysters to New York Harbor.”