For over a century in Rhode Island, the wild population of oysters has been nearly extinct. Over the years, the Narragansett Bay has been polluted to the point of destroying the once thriving oyster beds. Ironically, oysters and other filter feeding organisms provide a natural protection water filter for plants and animals. Oysters also provide a natural defense against shoreline erosion. Currently in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, an effort is underway to protect the shoreline by building a natural reef composed of discarded oyster shells.
In Rhode Island, the Nature Conservancy has started a new project called "Oysters Gone Wild." Teaming up with local scientists, state agencies, and local restaurants, the Nature Conservancy is leading an effort to collect discarded oyster shells to build several oyster beds in Rhode Island waters. These beds will provide new habitat for spawning oysters and hopefully restore the wild population of oysters. The Nature Conservancy hopes to build the beds in June or July of 2012.
Each year, Rhode Islanders eat about five and half million oysters. Almost a million pounds of oysters are sent to landfills. By partnering with local restaurants and bars, Oysters Gone Wild will seek to collect this valuable resource and send the shells to the beds to be constructed.
Continuing its relationship with the studio, the Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island asked Malcolm Grear Designers to create a visual identity for the program, tent cards and postcards to distribute in restaurants, and signage for the Nature Conservancy trucks that will be collecting the oysters from local restaurants.