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Prince & Princess of Wales

New York’s his oyster: the Prince of Wales sees environmental innovation in the Big Apple

The Prince of Wales wasted no time wading into the New York City Harbour to view an innovative water-saving project involving oysters on the first day of his visit stateside.

William, who is in New York for the second annual Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit, began his visit to the Billion Oyster Project.

The Billion Oyster Project aims to restore New York City Harbours to a state that oysters are reintroduced to the waters and take their place as ‘ecosystem engineers.’ One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water in a day, and New York City Harbour was once home to 220,000 acres of oyster reefs.

On social media, William posted: “From restaurant to Harbor, that’s one shell of a journey… New Yorkers’ enduring love for Oysters and the support of local restaurants has helped @BillionOyster Project collect more than 2 million pounds of recycled shells to date.”

Taken to Governor’s Island via boat, William then joined members of the Project by wading into the East River waters to see the efforts in action. This included joining a session with schoolchildren who are studying marine biology.

The Project’s goal is to place 1 billion oyster shells into New York City’s Harbours by 2035; and they are currently adding 50 million shells into waterways every year. Restaurants help the Project by donating their used oyster shells rather than putting them in the garbage.

Before he landed in New York, William shared a statement to social media, writing that “It’s so good to be back in the United States. No one does optimism and ingenuity like the American people, so it’s only right we unveil this year’s @Earthshotprize  Finalists in New York City.”

He added that, “I know our generation can take the bold action we need to make changes towards a healthy and sustainable world. The challenge may feel huge, but as John F Kennedy taught us, we rise to the challenge not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And vital. W.”

Following his visit with the Billion Oyster Project, William met with the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres; coinciding with the UN General Assembly, which both Queen Mathilde and Queen Rania are attending this week.

On day two of his visit, William will spend the day at the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit alongside a roster of A-list guests and speakers, before unveiling the 2023 finalists for this year’s Prize.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.