Author Archives: julie

Olivier’s Sports for Gorillas News from Rwanda

Art of Conservation spent many years of rehabilitating, managing, and providing security for children to engage in healthy activities and learning at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Today, Olivier Habimana – president of the club – updates us with news we can all cheer about.

From Olivier-
Recently, the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club was honored to receive an important supporter named Amelia Banner and her friends: Tonya Huston, Dennis Evans, Scott Zesch, and Kay Evans. They brought a lot of donations including tennis shoes, rackets and string, high altitude balls, women’s tops and more. It was really exciting to receive her at our club!

Amelia supports Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club ©Conservation Heritage-Turambe 2014Amelia at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club

Tonya, our friend, partner in human health education, and director of the Imidido Project introduced Amelia to us.

Amelia at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club  with Tonya Huston©Conservation Heritage-Turambe2014From left: Amelia (reading a thank you note card from Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club) and Scott behind her, Tonya (in a white T-shirt with Imidido Project logo) and Kay Evans behind her, Dennis Evans with a camera, and our good friend Kavos.

Amelia is a tennis player from Mason, Texas in the United States of America. She loves the game a lot. She immediately picked her racket and played doubles with children and coach Rashid Nsanzimana. It was so amazing!

Amelia plays a doubles match with Coach Rashid©CHT 2014Amelia plays a doubles match with Coach Rashid, Evariste, and Jean Bosco.

Amelia & Olivier©CHT2014After the match, I got to spend some time with her talking and laughing.

Clement Twizerimana, Musanze District’s officer in charge of Youth, Sports and Culture, arrived to thank Amelia and her colleagues for supporting the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club and the Musanze District in general. He welcomed the guests to come again and again.

Giving donations©CHT2014While Amelia was pulling out her donation items many tennis players and fans including district officials watched her with happiness!

Then, Amelia presented her donations to the Ibirunga tennis players who were there and her speech was received with a lot of excitement and applause.

Happy club thanks to Amelia©CHT2014Coach Rashid and his team of children happily waving their shoes and rackets. So amazing!

Thank you Amelia. You are warmly welcome back at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club! Warm gratitude to friends who contributed to making this happen including Tonya Huston.

Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!

An Evening Not To Be Forgotten, continued again

My last set of photos from a great evening. Thanks everybody for your support!

#1 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#2 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#3 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#4 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#5 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#6 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#7 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#8 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#9 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#10 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

#11 One-Health Meet&Greet©Art of Conservation 2014

Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!

An Evening Not To Be Forgotten, continued

Once people arrived at Holistika and began enjoying the watermelon margaritas, fruit-infused water, lionfish ceviche, and more it was time to begin our brief presentations. I began with a history of Art of Conservation. Lucy followed with her One-health conservation highlighting her work with pandas in China, mountain gorillas in Africa, and giant river otters in Guyana and why we should all be alarmed at the rate of species extinction. Ilze presented a very real picture of the condition of our water world with her One-health conservation aquatic examples.

I appreciated everyones attention and interest. Plus during conversations before and after the talks we got to learn more about what people are doing and their ideas for the future. Follow-up meetings are certainly in order.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I wish I had photos of everyone who came out to our Meet-&-Greet, but I came up short. Next time! Please have a look at the few I did capture.

AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#2 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#3 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#4 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#5 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#6 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#7 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

#8 AoC's One-Health Meet&Greet at Holistika ©Art of Conservation 2014

More photos coming up!

Please stay up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!

An Evening Not To Be Forgotten

A recent night in Tulum was an evening not soon to be forgotten. Friends, colleagues, partners, and new acquaintances arrived at Holistika in the late afternoon, sauntered through jungle paths, and were greeted with tasty drink and food – the only fish served being the invasive scrooge of the Caribbean Basin… Lionfish, Pterois volitans, in the form of ceviche prepared by the talented team at Ginger Tulum.

It has been a little less than two months since Art of Conservation moved our base of operations to Tulum and I have been busy reconnecting with the people we’ve met over the past year during our scouting trips to the Caribbean Basin who have in turn generously introduced me to many more people. So what better time to have a gathering to cement these new relationships and say thanks to the warm welcome? Right now and right here!

Lucy Spelman, Art of Conservation’s VP and One-Health Program Coordinator and Ize Berzins, our Consulting Scientist, arrived a few days prior to soak up our new settings – more on our field trips later – which filled our days from dawn to dusk with exploration and learning.

But before I go much further, I’d like to say thanks again to Holistika’s Denisse and Monica for making this event so easy and so much fun!

Denisse at Holistika July 2014 ©Art of ConservationThanks Denisse!

Monica at Holistika July 2014 ©Art of Conservation
Thanks Monica and Holistika’s head grounds staff member who looks handsome in his AoC t-shirt!

My next post will be full of photos from the evening… although I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked. I’m finding it more and more difficult to talk, walk, shoot photos, and really engage all at once.

More soon and thanks,
Julie

Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!

Farewell Announcement

So much has happened in the last years, and many of the things occurring at Art of Conservation are the result of seeds planted by Allison Hanes. Seventeen months ago Allison joined Art of Conservation (AoC) as our Executive Director. Allison recently informed the AoC board of directors and me that after a great deal of thoughtful consideration, she will pursue new opportunities and offered her resignation, which the board accepted. The board and I wish Allison well and thank you for her dedication and service to AoC.

Allison shared her passion for AoC’s work with everyone she met. Her gift for making connections with individuals interested in global conservation helped introduce AoC and AoC’s offshoot organization Conservation Heritage – Turambe in Rwanda to new supporters and partners, including the World Rainforest Fund and the Norman and Bettina Roberts Foundation.

Believing that AoC could connect with more people in new ways, Allison joined AoC’s team to more effectively tell our story. AoC benefits from new partnerships and an increasing base of AoC friends because of Allison’s efforts. Our new website and increased conversations about one-health conservation programs and AoC via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are a result of Allison’s focus on communications and partnership development.

The AoC journey started in the Virunga Massif region in northwest Rwanda. Allison recognized the value in documenting AoC’s impact on community-based conservation programs and one-health awareness during our seven years in Rwanda.

Allison coordinated the filming and production of a short film while working in the field at AoC’s base of operations in Musanze, Rwanda. She engaged renown professional wildlife photographer Andrew Walmsley to join the AoC team in capturing images and footage, which beautifully conveys our work in the communities near Volcanoes National Park, where the critically endangered mountain gorillas live. The video premiered at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.

During Art of Conservation’s strategic planning and expansion process, Allison assisted in workshops with board member Lucy Spelman and me in Guyana and Honduras and helped with the evaluation and decision to locate AoC’s new global base of operations – effective in June 2014 – to Quintana Roo, Mexico in the heart of the biodiverse Mesoamerican region.

We wish Allison great success and know her talents and commitment to one-health conservation will continue to make the world a better place.

During this transition, I will serve as the point of contact for Art of Conservation. Please reach out to me at [email protected] I love hearing from our friends.

Warmly,
Julie Ghrist
Program Director and Founder, Art of Conservation

A Positive Start To Tulum

It entailed a full year of concentrated effort from the Art of Conservation Board, our executive director Allison Hanes, and myself to arrive at the decision of setting up our new base of operations in the Caribbean Basin and more specifically in the town of Tulum which is in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. But we did it and we are off to a very positive start. Before I go any further I’d like to take a quick look back at the people we met along the way who inspired and welcomed us. Enjoy the pictures and thanks everyone for your encouragement.

Art of Conservation in Guyana ©Art of Conservation 2014

Art of Conservation in Panama ©Art of Conservation 2014

Art of Conservation in Honduras©Art of Conservation 2014

Art of Conservation in Mexico and Belize©Art of Conservation 2014

Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!

You Are Invited! ART of CONSERVATION One-Health MEET-AND-GREET in Tulum

ART of CONSERVATION One-Health MEET-AND-GREET

Please join us for an Art of Conservation Meet-and-Greet

Date: Saturday, July 19, 2014

Time: 16.30 – 18.30

Location: Holistika, Av. Tulum #83
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Parking is available near the entrance of the common area and park. Enter on foot through the white arches, and then take a right. You’ll find us just down a ways on the path.

About Art of Conservation:
Our mission is to inspire children and their families to conserve biodiversity through creative learning and one-health awareness. We design all of our activities to encourage children, families, young adults, collaborating scientists, artists, and educators to explore the many connections between human, animal, and environmental health, and to understand how their actions have a ripple effect in each ecosystem.

Meet and Greet Event:
As you may know, we have just moved our base of operations from Rwanda to Tulum. The move is a big change, to be sure. But we have our reasons, and we’d like to share them with you. We are also very interested in what you think of our ideas for the future.

We have three brief presentations planned, one each by Julie, Lucy, and Ilze. Each will be a show and tell, of sorts, about our mission, history, and future one-health programs. We will continue with refreshments and plenty of time for conversation.

This is an informal gathering, a chance for like-minded people to get together to talk about their work, and plant the seeds for new partnerships. In our experience, one-health conservation works best when it is truly collaborative, cross disciplinary, and multi-dimensional.

Agenda:
Julie – Welcome. History of AoC
Julie Ghrist, Founder and Board President, AoC
AoC Program Director

Lucy – One-health conservation examples: Terrestrial
Dr. Lucy H. Spelman, Vice President, AoC
Zoo and wild animal veterinarian (DVM), author, educator
One-Health Program Coordinator, AoC

Ilze – One-health conservation examples: Aquatic
Dr. Ilze Berzins, Consulting Scientist, AoC
Aquatic animal veterinarian (DVM) at One World, One Water, One Health, LLC, PhD in Ecology, Master’s in Public Health

Catering kindly provided by: Xoco Loco
Thank you Holistika for this lovely opportunity to gather friends and colleagues and special thanks to Denisse Iglesias and Monica King

Questions?
Please feel free to contact
Julie at [email protected] or text at (984) 166.89.97
We look forward to seeing you on the 19th of July!

For more about the Art of Conservation, please visit
www.art-of-conservation.org.

Weekend Outdoor Conservation Classes

At least once a month we hold our conservation and health workshops at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. The kids love the lessons and I suppose Coach Tony doesn’t mind a little break from his tennis clinic either! On these mornings, children anxiously wait outside of our gate as the AoC team and I load up the truck. When it’s too full to transport all materials and the team we ask the kids if they would not mind helping us out. They cheerfully grab whatever is handed them, including the leash attached to my dog Umulinzi, and begin walking to the courts – about 5 minutes away.

On the way to conservation lesson at the courts.  2 February 2012Children transport a chalkboard for our conservation lesson at the tennis courts nearby.

The team sets everything up and begins to tell the story of the silverback mountain gorilla. They talk about his role within the group and why we need to protect him. Children study visuals and soon begin drawing an anatomically correct silverback followed by a drawing of the silverback, the protector, with his family in the forest.

Art of Conservation 2012Eusebe beings the art exercise with a few hints on the materials, such as a paint brush.

If you recall, we sponsored gorilla visits for about 9 of the 15 and older kids a few months ago. It’s gratifying to know that their understanding of national parks and animals is deepening.

Learning about silverbacks.  Art of Conservation 2012Children concentrate on drawing a proportional silverback mountain gorilla.

The pictures from the children are great. They capture the mighty composition of a silverback in the first drawing and for the second exercise they illustrate well the positioning of the silverback with his family during one of their feeding, resting, grooming, and playing sessions.

Making Mountain Gorillas: A Video

Please enjoy this quick video from recent AoC classes which involved making papier mache mountain gorillas.

embedded by Embedded Video

Work With AoC

Hi everyone. Please see our new job listing. It’s an exciting time for us and we look forward to bringing an Executive Director on board. While our US headquarters are in Des Moines, a candidate need not be based there. Thanks for considering and spreading this announcement. -Julie

Art of Conservation Executive Director

Open Job Description

August, 2012

Art of Conservation, a nonprofit organization, provides health and environmental education to support Mountain Gorillas while empowering children and building community in villages adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The AoC Executive Director reports to the Board President and is responsible for supporting the mission and the vision of the organization.

The AoC Executive Director co-manages the organization with the AoC Program Director. The AoC Program Director is located in Musanze District in Rwanda and is responsible for all of AoC’s operating programs and projects including the year-long classes, workshops, the Ibirunga Tennis and Running Club program, and other special events.

The AoC Executive Director is responsible for these three, critical areas:

1. Fundraising – Develop and execute an annual fundraising plan that includes donor database management, donor communications, major gifts solicitation, corporate sponsorship, grant applications and reporting, and donor stewardship (thank you process). Execute all grant prospecting, writing and reporting. Maintain and utilize the donor database to execute the annual fundraising plan including major gifts solicitation and stewardship. Work with partners who support AoC’s fundraising. Over three years, build AoC’s fundraising program to raise $300 K annually.

2. Budgeting, Accounting, and Finance – Work closely with the Program Director to manage cash, develop and adhere to an annual budget, and ensure that sound fiscal processes and procedures are established and maintained. Work closely with the Finance Committee of the board to develop annual program-specific and organizational budgets – and report actual expenditures at board meetings.

3. Communication and Partnerships – Work closely with the Program Director to ensure that AoC’s success story is shared with donors, partners, and the public. Ensure that AoC’s partnerships are proactively supported and mutually beneficial. Ensure the AoC web site is a positive reflection of the organization. Produce the quarterly newsletter and the annual report. Use social media to promote AoC. Communicate effectively with all stakeholders.

AoC Executive Director Qualifications: Minimum five years of experience as an Executive Director or Program Manager. Additional experience required in the following: Fundraising, Grant-writing, Finance and Budgeting, Communications and Marketing.

Previous work experience with organizations that focus on education, health or the environment, community building, primates or animals is a plus. Appreciation for the complexities of working in Africa is a must.

The candidate must be a self-starter who is able to work independently with a remote organization and a remote board. The person in this position will help develop the strategy as well as execute the tactics. There are no direct reports to the Executive Director position.

Our ideal candidate wants to play a key role in influencing the future and success of a small, high-impact organization in Rwanda.

AoC Executive Director Position Details
Position is Full Time, located in the United States
Salary to be negotiated based on experience
Interested parties please email your CV and cover letter with salary requirements to Julie Ghrist, Founder and Director, AoC ([email protected])