Conservation initiatives by AFC members can be on a large scale or a local one.
Patricia Savage, a signature member of AFC for over 15 years has worked towards conservation on a local level as well as in her broader activities in the art world. As she puts it: "Global protection of even partial ecosystems and the creatures living within requires many individuals who are willing to create spaces in their own yard and neighborhood to help make their yards more wildlife friendly."
"Growing up in the piedmont of North Carolina, there was a large wood behind our house. When I turned 10 - finally, finally - Dad turned me loose to travel by myself. I spent many, many glorious hours learning and exploring. I watched plants grow, blossom, and die. I watched the light flicker through leaves. I raced with the wind blowing wildly through tree limbs. I followed ants, lizards, and copperheads. I fell in awe. I fell in love."
In high school, she watched in dismay as the bulldozers started and left her watching my most faithful companion - her woods- being torn up completely. This taught her, in her rapid growth town, to not fall in love with the scenery because it was just going to fall under the chainsaws of progress.
In 2010, Patricia and her husband installed a wildlife pond and continued to grow things that help them live better. In her need to deal with my anger, she began a "gardening for wildlife" group for their neighborhood. While global conservation concerns her as well, she felt that her energy would be better served by helping her neighbors learn how to enhance their yards to attract and feed the creatures who live there.
Currently, members have started a rain garden at the local elementary school. Others are involved with the restoration of a neighborhood stream in conjunction with the high school close by. They have also adopted a city park and with the City of Raleigh's help, have implemented a pollinator garden. Over the next several years, they will add host plants, other native bird/pollinator friendly plantings, and signs with information about a particular plant.
"I love being outside. When I look at nature, I'm drawn both to place and detail. The world is full of abstract shapes and patterns waiting to be discovered -- the light and dark areas created when leaves overlap with sunlight behind them, the overlooked forms that a rose's shadow casts upon another flower, the minute detail in a single blossom or the abstract masses of trees among swaying grasses."
Patricia has been Artist-in-Residence in Denali National Park, Alaska, and was in Maine at the Shoals Marine Laboratory, in their Artist-In-Residence Program.
A number of Alaska paintings came from her time as artist for the "Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced: A Century of Change" in 2001. This project by Bullfrog Films, Smith College, and PBS recreated the 1899 Harriman Expedition to Alaska, resulting in a film and book including her illustrations. The opportunity led to her invitation to be Artist-in-Residence in a remote part of Denali, with its immensity of landscape and enthralling world of miniature tundra plants.