Michelle McCune

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for January, 2019

Michelle McCune, DVM is both an artist and veterinarian and uses these skills to educate and foster support of conservation efforts. She firmly believes that education is the key to helping people connect and empower them. Her family recently relocated from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois to the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. Michelle has since begun a transition from working in a small animal clinic to following her passion of helping wild animals and preservation of ecosystems. She volunteers her time and veterinary background performing necropsies (autopsies) on deceased marine mammals helping researchers determine the cause of death and how it reflects changes in the health of the oceans. She assists researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, doing field work on the northern elephant seals.

In 2017, Michelle completed classwork enabling her to become a docent at Ano Nuevo State Park, another volunteer opportunity which allows her to educate the public directly, many from foreign countries, about the history of the park and it's incredible role in the conservation of the northern elephant seal. This was a species declared extinct 3 times but with the efforts of regular people and the US and Mexican governments, the species was saved and has a stable population (for the moment). Michelle feels this story is of special value as it demonstrates success in conservation and the power of our voices which gives people hope. It also serves as a reminder to how fragile the situation is due to lack of genetic diversity and the need to protect our oceans. Elephant seal research also provides insight into the health of the oceans as they can use devices on the seals to collect ocean samples. So much to gain as well as learning about these fascinating behemoths and their unique adaptations!

Her new foray into marine work is also inspiring her art with marine species appearing in her paintings and soon she will be revealing an exciting collection of sculptures! She has always believed her work provides a window into worlds not many are lucky enough to experience firsthand. While the viewer connects with the subject, they learn more about the animal and it's environment igniting a spark that will perhaps generate more support of the environment. She continues to donate a portion of all sales to different conservation organizations as well as being an active supporter herself of various groups and projects. She also believes in supporting efforts by her fellow artists with some of their amazing projects. It will take cooperation and standing together but we can and will make a difference!

Learn more about Michelle...

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(August, 2020)
(July, 2020)
(June, 2020)
(May, 2020)
(April, 2020)
(March, 2020)
(February, 2020)
(January, 2020)
(December, 2019)
(November, 2019)
(October, 2019)
(September, 2019)
(August, 2019)
(July, 2019)
(June, 2019)
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