“I believe the approach of the artist and the approach of the environmentalist are fairly close in that both are, to a rather impressive degree, concerned with the ‘affirmation of life.’” –Ansel Adams
In 1995, the Vermont legislature created the wildlife conservation license plate. Now, 20 years later, more than $2.5 million has been raised from the sale of these plates; the money goes to statewide programs that protect, restore, and enhance Vermont’s natural resources. With the slogan “Drive yourself wild” and images of indigenous species pictured on the plates, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department encourages car owners to show their support for the Nongame Wildlife Fund and the Watershed Grants Program.
Linda Mirabile, the artist who painted the common loon and white-tailed deer for the most recent conservation plates, has been a graphic designer, editor, and environmentalist for over 30 years. Her company, RavenMark, which she co-owns with Rebecca Davidson, has maintained a mission “to communicate, through collaboration and creativity, information that does good for the environment.” Her job often involves taking large amounts of information and data and translating it into a dynamic visual format. The sheer volume of data we must absorb on a daily basis often overwhelms us, and designers like Mirabile help us absorb information in a different way.
Driving down the interstate, parking at the grocery store, walking down a dirt road, those of us who live in the state see Vermont license plates every day. Whether they feature a peregrine falcon, a catamount, a loon, a deer, or a trout, they’re a reminder of the pride many of us have in the natural resources of this region. Conservation plates nationwide are a successful example of how art can be used to further communicate environmental and conservation goals.
Linda Mirabile has been a graphic designer in central Vermont since 1976. After working with The Laughing Bear Associates for 20 years she opened her own design studio, Mirabile Design, in 1996. Her work has been focused in the environmental arena with clients such as Harvard Forest, Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, and the Biodiversity Research Institute. In 2004, Mirabile Design and Kailyard Associates merged to form RavenMark, a full service communications firm. RavenMark works with mission-driven organizations, particularly those dedicated to conservation, with the belief that a picture truly does help tell the story. RavenMark incorporates art in its design projects whenever possible.