I am passionate about conservation. While I donate a number of original paintings every year to sportsmen organizations that are working on conservation projects, I also volunteer and plan conservation trips to work on grassroot projects. In 2015, following a trip to Zimbabwe, a group of partk rangers in the Sengwa park in Zimbabwe impressed me with their dedication to protecting elephants. During my 10 days studying wildlife in the park, we came across 13 illegally poached elephant carcasses. While it was heartbreaking to see the slaughtered elephant carcasses, I was incredibly frustrated to learn of all the money that was being raised to protect the elephants of the park, yet the money was never making it into the hands of the park rangers in the field. They had one working radio, no working vehicles, no gas to put in the vehicles, and yet when we went to the park headquarters to turn in GPS coordinates of the elephant kill sites, there were 4 new Mercedes owned by political park officials parked in the parking lot. When I returned to the states, I vowed that I was going to help those park rangers. I contacted a large sporting association in Alaska and asked them to partner with me on a project. If I painted a large original oil painting for them, would they agree to auction the painting during their annual fundraising gala and use the proceeds to purchase radios, batteries, flexi-cuff handcuffs (for detaining poachers), fuel vouchers and items that could be sent directly to the park to ensure that the tools actually made it to the rangers that were on the front lines protecting the elephant herd. They agreed. The original painting of an impressive bull elephant sold for over $5,000. Print #1 sold for $1,300 and the first run of prints raised an additional $8,000. 100% of those proceeds were turned into tools and shipped directly to park rangers protecting elephant herds. One person CAN make a difference. That project ignited a fire in me, and I try every year to find ways that I can give back to wildlife in a meaningful way. Here is just a small list of what I have been a part of and organizations that have used my art as a way to fundraise and support their conservation projects:
Alaska SCI - Anchorage & Kenai: Donated a custom Wood Bison original oil painting - 100% donation of original and first print run. All proceeds used to reintroduce wood bison to Alaska.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
National Park Service
Smithsonian National Zoo
Smithsonian Cheetah Conservation Project
David Sheffield Foundation
Alaska Sheep Foundation
Alaska zoo - Polar Bear protection/expansion project
I am particularly passionate about elephant anti-poaching efforts, pangolin & cheetah protection, and reducing land owner/wildlife conflicts through collaborative solutions. As a longtime Alaskan, I am also dedicated to ensuring that Alaskan wildlife is protected and that the amazing populations of eagles, moose, caribou, wolves and bears continue to thrive.