1 October 2023

Yesterday The Wild Oyster Project, along with 300 volunteers and local families, filled Roker beach in Sunderland with a giant oyster reef scene made entirely of sand.

Created as part of The Wild Oysters Family Fun Day the giant carving stretched an impressive 25m by 25m along the beach front. Led by local artist Soul2Sand the sand art shows native oysters, surrounded by prawns, crabs and fish.

The event saw hundreds take part in free beach activities including Ranger Jane’s Beach School - teaching children about the wonders of rock pools – a lively performance from The Silver Shanty Men and face painting.

Sand art oysters
Crating oyster sand art

The family fun day comes after The Wild Oysters Project, our partnership with Blue Marine Foundation, British Marine and local delivery partner Groundwork North East and Cumbria celebrated its three-year milestone. 

With the support of near 2,000 hours of volunteer time from the local community and students, the project has monitored the 1,200 oysters housed in oyster nurseries under marina pontoons in Tyne & Wear and found thousands of marine animals living alongside the oyster nurseries, indicating that the restoration project is helping more than just oysters.

Karen Stewart, The Wild Oysters Local Officer, Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said; “We wanted to celebrate all the support we’ve had from the local community, and thank them for dedicating their time allowing us to help restore coastal waters around the UK by bringing back native oysters from the brink of extinction. To date we’ve had over 200 volunteers help on the project, equating to nearly 2,000 volunteer hours.

Roker beach Sunderland
Oyster sand art being created

“Alongside this we’ve delivered education sessions to over 5,738 local school students in Tyne & Wear and a further, 5,984 students through a collaboration with the Life Science Centre.”

We believe that nature can recover, and that conservation is most effective when driven by science. We call for science to guide all global decisions on environment and biodiversity and build a healthier future for wildlife, people and the planet.

Find out more

The Wild Oysters Project received £1.18m in funding that was raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the annual Dream Fund award. The Dream Fund receives player raised funds through Postcode Innovation Trust and exists to give organisations the opportunity to bring ambitious, innovative and collaborative projects to life.