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Valentin Katrandzhiev

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for September, 2013

Bulgarian artist Valentin Katrandzhiev, as a child, went to workshops on Nature Conservation, Zoology and Photography.  From childhood and to this day he keeps a daily journal of observations of nature and almost daily he could be found in the wetland areas around his town studying birds’ nests, and mapping individual species. Feeling almost like a guardian he was there so regularly. He met almost all of the ornithologists who at that time were tracking the migratory patterns of birds. It was from this that the idea was born to form an organization, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, (BSPB) which In 1988 became reality when they received registration with the government.  Valentin is still actively involved with this volunteer organization. The BSPB is now a leading NGO in the field of conservation in Bulgaria and he is often involved with hours of volunteer efforts related to protecting various bird species and their habitats.

Valentin has been involved with the following activities of the Society:
Since 1997 he has monitored the wintering Red Breasted Geese and volunteered guarding the incubation of the Eastern Imperial Eagle. He participated in the educational programs teaching children in the towns, of Dobrich, Kavarna and Duranhulak. For many years he has been doing research in Northeastern Bulgaria studying the Red Footed Falcon, the Great Bustard and Saker Falcon. In all of these towns along the Black Sea Coast he has organized and participated in the collection of waste.
From 2003 until now, he participated in tracking bird migration and completing nesting bird surveys during the winter months.

To put in Valentin's words:   "Communicating with nature inspires me to paint. It is my hope that what I paint on the canvas I can share what I have experienced with others. Then it is my desire that they are inspired by what I have painted to discover nature for themselves or experience for a moment through my art, the wonder of nature. To know, to love and care about it's preservation."

"As a child of four or five I was playing in the school yard. I remember a warm sunny spring day gazing at the blue sky when a flock of white storks flew over my head. I was fascinated by these birds soaring in the blue sky bathed in sunlight. I will never forget that moment. As a child I was intensely curious about all living things and would study for hours, flowers, birds and insects. I would stare for hours at the miniature world of tiny flies, grasshoppers and butterflies. I began to study birds.

At a very early age I can remember studying their nests in the tile roof of my home. Even then I realized that there were two kinds of sparrows and learned the difference in their eggs. As I grew I came across a book about hunting and it was illustrated with ink animal drawings. I started re drawing them in pencil. I remember drawing a fox brilliantly, a masterpiece! Many years later I came across the drawing with much laughter. But to me as a child there was never a better drawing of a fox. Later, at school every day I would wander around outdoors at recess. Collecting insects I would then research to find out their names both in Bulgarian and Latin. I made a taxidermy collection that was donated to the school to further educate my classmates. I also began to study birds with much love. It was so difficult to determine the types of birds. Identifying material was scare to me. As much as possible I bought every book I could find on birds. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was thirsty for knowledge. I grew up with the works of Bernhard Gzhimek and Gerald Durrell.

This childhood passion is reflected in my adult life. I am inspired through my deep respect and love for nature to paint and photograph on a daily basis. As well, I have chosen to be a field scientist studying the migratory patterns of birds in Southeast Europe. I work contracted by the Bulgarian government monitoring migrations each spring and fall. This requires long hours in the field studying and documenting every bird group that travels past my position. The compensation is more spiritual than financial but it is where I belong."

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(October, 2017)
(September, 2017)
(August, 2017)
(July, 2017)
(June, 2017)
(May, 2017)
(April, 2017)
(March, 2017)
(February, 2017)
(January, 2017)
(December, 2016)
(November, 2016)
(October, 2016)
(September, 2016)
(August, 2016)
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