David Kitler

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for March, 2013

David Kitler is a well known visual artist, naturalist, instructor and he is highly committed to conservation causes. In 2005, he was awarded the very first fellowship grant under the AFC's Flag Expeditions Program for his proposal "Expedition to Observe and Portray the Endangered Harpy Eagle and its Habitat". The expedition allowed David and his wife Ly to spend several weeks in the rainforests of Panama. Following what is likely the most extensive artistic study of the Harpy Eagle ever attempted, the resulting artwork has been used to support conservation efforts to restore the Harpy Eagle to its historical ranges, while helping the local indigenous people, and to educate the general public on the key role this species plays in the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem.

David far exceeded expectations in achieving the objectives of the Flag Program, as the initial visit has led to many more and the local population has embraced the Harpy Eagle as an important part of their livelihood. Further, his artwork has helped raise funds for several Panama organizations and has resulted in several follow-on trips to Panama in support of the perople and the Eagle. David's Harpy Eagle images continues to be used to support education and conservation efforts in Panama, fulfilling the objectives of his AFC Flag Expedition. Learn more about his expedition.

As an example, the Audubon Society of Panama, in conjunction with the Patronato Amigos del Águila Harpía (Harpy Eagle Friends Foundation) produced 5,000 bookmarks of David's "Harpy Eagle - Portraits". The Harpy Eagle is Panama's national bird, and the bookmarks are designed to promote its appreciation and conservation. In March 2010, the Audubon Society started its school program, Aulas Verdes (Green Classrooms), and recently visited one of the schools involved in the program. National Harpy Eagle Day is May 10, and they delivered the bookmarks to the students as a reminder that this day was approaching. Bookmarks were also sent to another school that is involved in the program, located in San Carlos, close to El Valle de Antón.

In February 2007, David and his wife Ly returned to Llano Bonito, where they handed the villagers hundreds of pounds of school supplies and baseball equipment, as well as other donated items, including fabric, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. It took five horses (and a 3-hour hike) to get all of the supplies from the closest town to the village. There were a lot of happy faces. The natives were simply overwhelmed by the fact that so many people, from so far away, had cared so much as to try to help their children and their community. And then again in 2009, David led a group who, besides delivering school and personal care supplies, spent over a week working side by side with the natives to build much needed sanitation facilities (pour-flush water seal latrines), as the village only had two outhouses to serve the 80+ people who live there. The group left extra building materials, tools, and directions, which will allow the villagers to build a few more of these latrines on their own.
Learn more about David's visit

A strong supporter of conservation projects and of his community, David continues to donate works in support of numerous local and international organizations, including:

  • Cheetah Conservation Fund
  • Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation
  • Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • COTERC (Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation)
  • Metropolitan Park (Panama City)
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators
  • Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Howell Conference and Nature Center
  • Audubon Society
  • Japan Wildlife Center
  • Nosara Wildlife Rescue
  • Dreams Take Flight
  • Kids Cancer Care Foundation, plus a number of other humanitarian groups.

David is a long-time member and supporter of AFC, providing educational workshops to both youth and adults, special lectures, and live art demostrations at the Artists for Conservation Festival. 

For more information, visit David's website.

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(December, 2019)
(November, 2019)
(October, 2019)
(September, 2019)
(August, 2019)
(July, 2019)
(June, 2019)
(May, 2019)
(April, 2019)
(March, 2019)
(February, 2019)
(January, 2019)
(December, 2018)
(November, 2018)
(October, 2018)
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