2010 Year in Review

As 2011 gets underway, we would like to take a moment to look back at 2010, and celebrate with you a year of success, progress, impact and excitement at AFC.

While conflict, greed, corruption, negligence and natural disasters may have been at the forefront of the world's media headlines throughout 2010, we also witnessed inspiring stories of hope, determination, action and positive change around the world. We would like to think that AFC has been and continues to be at the forefront of leading a story of positive change and impact through what we do and know best - creating awareness about and celebrating our natural world through our art.

To advance AFC's mission of supporting the environment through art, increasing awareness in our communities about the work we do is critical. We have made a major push over the past year to develop the infrastructure and strategy to support our member efforts and significantly grow our visibility online and offline.

Welcome to Artist's for Conservation's Official Blog

What a year 2010 was to reflect upon. Earth rang in the Year of Biodiversity with a prolonged geological belch of ash and rock in Iceland. Eyjafjallajokull (I actually trained myself to pronounce this) - dormant volcano turned mountain-sized orifice - brought travel in Europe to a standstill and disrupted lives around the world.

But if an erupting Icelandic volcano was a belch, than surely, ensuing events in the Gulf of Mexico were tantamount to a human-induced vomit of planetary proportions. For 87 days, the world watched powerlessly with revulsion and despair as 4.9 million barrels of crude oil (or 205 million gallons) gushed into the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We now know this to be the worst oil spill in history. As astronauts added another module to the International Space Station on shuttle Atlantis' final voyage, they shared with us how bad the spill looked from space. What will we learn from this?

We can't reflect on the year without mentioning earthquakes in Haiti and Chile that wrought enormous destruction. The resulting extended shutdown of the pulp industry in Chile had a major impact on the availability of paper worldwide. Options for producing a short-run book (such as our Art of Conservation Exhibit Book) on environmentally friendly stock became severely limited. It caused costs to rise and slowed production. It is cause for thought that a single earthquake could have a global impact on printing on sustainably forested paper.

Good News from the MGVP!

I just received word from Molly Feltner from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project in Rwanda that, as of today, the baby gorilla that had the snare entangled around it's neck, is now free. Dr. Mike Cranfield had to return once again to Uganda to intervene and, this time, he was able to dart the female, keep the silverback at bay, and remove the snare from around the baby's neck. If you recall, we reported on that little guy when we first arrived in Africa. It has taken the dedicated staff of MGVP just over 3 weeks to help that one animal.

Back to Work at the American Museum of Natural History

Artists for Conservation

Well, today is my first day back to work since returning home from Africa. My commute from New Jersey to New York was horrific! It took me two hours to get in to the museum. Not quite as bad as the traffic going in and out of Nairobi. At least in New York the roads have well marked lanes (not that anyone stays in them) and at least we drive on the right side of the road!

Arriving at the museum, I've decided I will take a slight detour, away from my usual route directly to the exhibit studio, and walk through the Akeley Hall of African Mammals on my way to my desk.

Homeward Bound

Dec 10th  - Homeward Bound - Jeff and I are sitting here in the airport in Amsterdam waiting for our flight. We are spent and can’t wait to get home to see our families and sleep for the weekend.

The whole expedition feels like it was a dream. I feel so humbled to have had the opportunity to go where I have, seen what I’ve seen, and experienced all that we have over the last three weeks.

Mission accomplished! - almost

Artists for Conservation

Dec 9th - Well, one would think we would be slowing our pace in preparation for our return trip but no so.
Jeff Whiting has a really exciting meeting this morning with the United Nations Environment Program here in Nairobi. We are hoping that, before long, Artists for Conservation Foundation might develop a working relationship with the UN.

Elephants & Mount Kenya

Artists for Conservation

Dec 8 - For some reason I couldn't sleep (maybe it was the scotch) and woke early this morning while it was still dark. The Tree Hyrax and Spotted Hyenas where still sounding off nearby. The night was still and the stars were bright, different from most all our previous nights in the Aberdares that were cloudy and overcast. All others were asleep so, without a sound to disturb them, I stepped out on the veranda in the cool night air. It was a beautiful night and I was sad to remember that today we would start our return to Nairobi and the long trip home. Our expedition was nearly over.

Rhino Retreat

Artists for Conservation

Dec 6th - After an early breakfast we headed out for a game drive in the park. The birds here are unbelievable!! Rosse's and Hartlaub's Touraco sailed across our path with bright red wing patches glowing in the morning sun. Overhead both Marshall Eagle and African Crested Eagle circled. These are big birds of prey! Marshall Eagle is big enough to take small antelope and the Crested Eagle will take monkeys. They are both magnificent birds. New mammals for me were Suni, a tiny little forest antelope (Marshall Eagle food) and Giant Forest Hog. The forest hog is really big.


Artists for Conservation

Dec 6th - Today we began yet another grand adventure! Guy had arranged for us to stay in a small cabin way up in the mountains of the Aberdares National Park called "Rhino Retreat". It is a small outpost built by the Kenyan army in the 1990s. The cabin was created for the use of a gallant group called "Rhino Ark" that formed to make a last ditch effort to save the remaining Black Rhinos in this giant national park. Murray's Dad was a founder of the group and Guy's Dads soon joined in the effort.

Linda's Birthday

Artists for Conservation

Dec 5th - Today is December 5th, my wife, Linda's, birthday! It was bad enough missing Thanksgiving with my family, but missing my wife's birthday was too much. I wish this trip did not fall on her day. I had to come up with a way to send a birthday greeting that would clearly show I was thinking of her and how much I cared. So before I left, I arranged for her to receive a gorilla-gram birthday greeting at her workplace.

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