My Feathered Friends: Maintaining Everyday Backyard Relationships

Artists for Conservation

This morning I woke up to the ear piercing pulse of the Starship Enterprise's "red alert" alarm. Apparently I watched a lot of Star Trek during the formative years of Hoover's life. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a closet Trekky). Brad and I often wake up to the sounds of crows cawing, ambulance sirens screaming or the melodic song of a cardinal....all coming from the kitchen. The culprit is Hoover, our chatty, captive-raised, 20 year old Congo African Grey Parrot.

The Art of Business

Pollyanna Pickering - The Art of Business

Many people have a vision of an artist as someone blissfully detached from the realities of life - working only when the muse takes them, floating through life on a cloud of dreamy inspiration as far removed from tax returns and binding contracts as it is possible to be.

Or alternatively they might imagine an impassioned and slightly demented figure, starving poetically in a garret, working feverishly while existing on a diet of scrounged cigarettes and absinthe, never to be recognised in their own lifetime.

Painting the Painted Dog: Planning an Impactful Field Expedition for Awareness & Education

Artists for Conservation

In 2007 I was awarded AFC's 5th Flag Expedition Fellowship and had the amazing experience of spending 6 weeks at the Painted Dog Conservation project (PDC) in Zimbabwe, tracking and sketching highly endangered African wild dogs (known as Painted Dogs in Zimbabwe). The main objectives of my project were to raise awareness of this unique and persecuted species and to raise funds for their conservation.

Nature Art Uncovered - The Beginnings

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

In 1504 Hieronymus Bosch, living in the low countries of Northern Europe, applied the last touches to an image that has puzzled the world ever since. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (1503-1504) seems to suggest a utopian world, yet running through the work are a series of human frailties that end in the ultimate damnation of the human race.

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.

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