Dodge wins AFC Medal of Excellence (2010)

Canadian Artist Kelly Dodge wins AFC "Medal of Excellence".  Each year the Artists for Conservation Foundation awards six AFC "Medals of Excellence" to artists for their artworks in the Annual Art of Conservation, an international exhibit of nature in art.  Dodge's pastel painting, "Where's Waldo?" was singled out for special recognition from among over 400 art submissions for the prestigious 2010 AFC Virtual Exhibition.  The six award winners, in alphabetical order are Guy Coheleach for "Seacoast Pelicans", Anni Crouter for "Solitaire", Kelly Dodge, for "Where's Waldo?", David Kitler for "Madagascar - Creatures of the Night", Robert Parkin for "I See You" and Val Warner for "Devotion".  In conjunction with the launch of the Annual AFC Virtual Exhibition and new AFC website Dodge was also pleased to have had a second painting, "Particularly Poignant"  selected for inclusion in this years exhibition.  In 2009 Dodge was honoured to be the recipient of the 10th AFC Flag Expedition Fellowship awarded since the launch of the groundbreaking AFC Flag Expedition Program in 2005. These fellowships make possible artistic field research in remote areas of the world with an emphasis on endangered and vulnerable flora and fauna.  "Where's Waldo?" a pastel on archival museum paper depicts 12 Galapagos marine iguanas and a small ground finch.  Galapagos marine iguanas are the only sea-going lizard in the world.  They feed almost entirely on algae, larger stronger males by diving once a day and smaller females and juveniles by feeding on exposed reefs close to shore.  They are cold-blooded and must warm by basking in the sun on the black lava rocks, both before and after feeding trips.  A pleasant past-time for Dodge was observing the many dainty finches such as this one hopping about taking ticks and mites from the skin of the gruff marine iguanas.  Of the 7 marine iguana populations, 6 are categorized as Vulnerable under the IUCN red list. One subspecies on San Cristobal and Santiago is classified as Endangered due to an oil spill in 2000 that caused extensive habitat contamination.  All Galapagos marine iguana populations are susceptible to ongoing predation by introduced feral cats and dogs.  The Artists for Conservation mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage. They are the worlds leading collective of artists celebrating our natural heritage and have a capped membership of 500 artists spanning 30 countries worldwide.  Their vision is to lead a global artistic movement that inspires individuals and organizations to preserve and sustain our natural heritage by uniting the talent and passion of the world's most gifted nature artists.