Shellfish Ecological History by Sarah Schumann wins RI Council for the Humanities Innovation Award.

Book Celebrating Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage Honored at Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Event

The Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Resources Center at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, and author Sarah Schumann were honored at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities’ 2015 Celebration of the Humanities.

The URI group was one of four honorees at the event on October 8, and received the Innovation in the Humanities Award for Rhode Island’s Shellfish: An Ecological History. The Innovation Award recognizes the innovative implementation of the humanities by a group of organizations to RI's Shellfish Heritage coverachieve a common goal, in this case the “powerful use of the humanities to connect cross-sector stakeholders including the R.I. Department of Environmental Management and Coastal Resources Management Council, URI, and Roger Williams University in the process of designing Rhode Island’s Shellfish Management Plan, by examining shellfish as resources interwoven with the state’s identity and history” through the development of the book, which is forthcoming later this fall.

“The Humanities Council is proud to honor this important collaborative effort and exemplary use of the humanities to inform policy. The honorees not only looked at shellfish as an economic, environmental, and culinary resource for our state. They also brought to light the enduring importance of shellfish as a cultural resource, interwoven with Rhode Island’s identity and history,” remarked Elizabeth Francis, executive director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

The book, written by Sarah Schumann, examines the significance of shellfish to the area from pre-Colonial days to today in terms of sustenance, employment, recreation, ecological importance, and artistic inspiration. Numerous shellfishermen, growers, shellfishing families, dealers, artists, scientists, and others contributed stories and photographs to this compendium that captures the way shellfish, from the iconic quahog to the humble periwinkle, have been an integral part of Rhode Island’s past and present.

The book is being published this fall and will be freely available to the public. (Shipping charges will apply.) To be notified when the publication is available, contact Rhode Island Sea Grant at or (401) 874-6800.