Category Archives: Friends

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!

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!

Celebrating Biodiversity: A Video of AoC’s Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser

From Julie

The generous and talented couple, Wendy and Alan Kaplan, offered their time and talent at our recent event in New York. They mixed and mingled with our guests, grabbed quiet moments for conversation, and covered the evening of talks, art on display, music, and celebration of Planet Earth’s glorious biodiversity. Philip Hanes came to our rescue and put the clips together. Thank you very much Wendy, Alan, and Philip!

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt
 Scenes from Art of Conservation’s Exhibition & Fundraiser at Pratt Institute Manhattan. 22 November 2013

Thank You Friends! What Would We Do Without You? NYC Part 2

Here is another batch of photos – courtesy of Jason Rearick and Marcus Alexander of Epoch Times – from our special evening with friends at AoC’s Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in Manhattan.

Thank you again to our sponsors, volunteers, board members, musicians, Pratt faculty, friends and family. A special thanks for new funding offered by the Norman and Bettina Roberts Foundation.

Dave & Lucy at Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013Dave and Lucy.

Keynote by Lucy at Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013A slide from Dr. Lucy Spelman’s excellent keynote. She asks, “How can we help people feel closer to wild animals the way they feel about their pets?”

Jolie at Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013I am so happy to see and talk with my longtime childhood friend Jolie!

Missing CHT at Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013Andrew and Allison take time out to reflect on the Conservation Heritage – Turambe team in Rwanda and how much we all miss them.

Julie, Jocelyn, Cheryl. Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013I am here with ceramics artist Jocelyn and our fabulous hostess Cheryl.

Tracy & Crystal Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013Honorary Board Member Tracy Levine and an extraordinary volunteer, Crystal, share a moment in front of photography on display.

Dalton at Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in NYC November 2013Another extraordinary volunteer DALTON!

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in New York City November 2013Allison with artist Rodrigo Valles.

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in New York City November 2013Daniel, Scarlett, and Dawn are kind supporters of AoC.

Thanks again everyone for a successful event.

Thank You Friends! What Would We Do Without You? NYC Part 1

Thank you for making our Exhibition & Fundraiser at Pratt Institute Manhattan a very special event.

Sponsors, volunteers, board members, musicians, Pratt faculty, friends and family generated the most positive energy for a common goal to make Earth a more healthy place for all.

Please enjoy the photos below courtesy of Jason Rearick and Marcus Alexander of Epoch Times. Click here for more coverage of the evening at Epoch Times. I wish I had had my camera too but it was so nice to have time with guests. Dr. Lucy Spelman’s keynote was well received with everyone commenting afterward that the one-health concept becomes clearer and clearer all the time and the need for a multidisciplinary approach to conservation is essential. More photos are surfacing, but for now here you go. Be sure not to miss our famous photographer Andrew Walmsley dressed up in his magnificent kilt straight off the plane from Scotland! Thank you again and again from the Art of Conservation team.

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013Allison with Philip Choi and Joseph Canciglia of the Norman and Bettina Roberts Foundation.

Jackie & Julia at AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013Jacky and Julia help with auction items and merchandise.

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013A roomful of wonderful friends.

Andrew, Julie, Allison, Cheryl. AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013Andrew, Julie, Allison, and Cheryl. Allison and Cheryl did a fabulous job putting together the event!

Musicians Courtney and Benjamin at AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013Courtney and Benjamin of Kaiser Kartel play a sampling of music written for AoC.

Musician Rubin Kodheli at AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013At the close of the evening we listened to beautiful cello music composed and played by Rubin Kodheli.

Lori Howe at AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser, NYC 2013Board member Lori Howe viewing and purchasing photos on display.

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in New York City November 2013Allison with Daniel Azarian and Wendy Kaplan.

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in New York City November 2013Exciting auction items!

AoC's Pratt Exhibition & Fundraiser in New York City November 2013Paintings and gift bags!

A successful evening thanks to all.

You Are Invited! AoC Exhibition & Fundraiser at Pratt/NYC

From Julie

Hi Friends and Supporters,
Please join us at our upcoming Exhibition & Fundraiser at Pratt Institutes’s Manhattan gallery space on 14th Street in November. All the information you need is below and here. Let’s bring in the holiday season together while we save species at the same time! We appreciate your support very much!

Art of Conservation invitation to Exhibition & Fundraiser 2013

AoC promotes one-health conservation through education and empowerment.
Founded in 2006, the organization encourages learning through creative expression, combining science-based lesson plans with visual art, poetry, song, dance and sports. AoC develops both in- and out-of-school lesson plans specific to each community and its conservation challenges. During its seven years in Rwanda, AoC provided children with thousands of hours of educational programming. New initiatives have been launched in Guyana and Panama.

Benefit Ticket: $75 (Cocktail attire suggested)
Includes cocktails, light fare and a gift bag.

For more info and to purchase a ticket online:

Tickets are going fast so please don’t miss out.

All photos, original watercolor paintings from our team in Rwanda, copies of children’s artwork developed in AoC classes and great silent auction items are for sale and make great gifts for the holidays coming up.

All tickets and purchases are tax deductible and benefit Art of Conservation, a 501(c)(3).

AoC contact: [email protected]

Pratt contact: Cheryl Stockton Email: [email protected]

One-Health Conservation At Karanambu

From Julie Ghrist

More on our recent trip to Guyana-

Andrea and Salvador de Caires manage the Karanambu Trust and Eco-tourist Lodge in Guyana, South America. Visitors are spoiled by their delicious garden-to-table snacks and meals, rum punches, and more. Andrea and Salador have lived such interesting lives and bring their experiences to Karanambu so with partners they are making it a perfect example of one-health conservation. What do I mean by one-health? Take a closer look at what goes on at Karanambu every day… research, training, tourism, community development, wildlife rehabilitation, wild & domesticated animal health, human health, water projects, environmental education, partnerships with surrounding eco-lodges and NGO’s, creating sustainable jobs for the local Makushi Ameridian population. And the list is not complete but I think you’ll agree it’s a lot for this off the beaten track enclave in the far interior of the country. One health conservation involves the consideration and practice for saving species by realizing that all living things are connected. There is hardly an aspect at Karanambu that is not being mindfully treated.

Please enjoy the following pictures and meet the special people of Karanambu. Allison, Lucy, and I miss them and look forward to seeing them again.

Andrea de Caires manages Karanambu Lodge. ©Art of Conservation 2013Andrea de Caires and friend Oswin. Oswin is a graduate from Dr. Godfrey Bourne’s CEIBA Biological Center ecology course and an artist.

At Kwaimatta Village with Salvador. ©Art of Conservation 2013Lucy, Salvador, Kwaimatta Primary School headteacher Iris, Diane McTurk, and school teacher. Iris is so pleased to receive a copy of Lucy’s recently published National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia. Click here to order your copy.

Jerry with his camera traps. ©Art of Conservation 2013Gerry Pereira. Gerry, the nicest guy, is everywhere doing everything at Karanambu. Here he is pictured fixing one of his camera traps during our morning hikes.

Jerry at his computer inputing data from his camera traps. ©Art of Conservation 2013Gerry inputing to his already huge database of the biodiversity in the area. He showed me loads of photos of the magnificent animals passing by his numerous camera traps.

Ronica at Karanambu. ©Art of Conservation 2013Ronica. Ronica, another graduate from the ecology course, is a fabulous role-model to her peers in the rural villages. She is making an income and furthering her education while keeping her strong connections with her land.

Getting of the plane. ©Art of Conservation 2013Royal, Marcie, son of Marvin’s, Marvin. Loving care is given to all members of the Karanambu family. Nurse Marcie transports a sick family member back to Karanambu to be close to his loved ones.

Salvador with Nurse Marcie. ©Art of Conservation 2013Marcie and Salvador. Relieved to get a sick family member back to Karanambu, Salvador and Marcie breathe a sigh of relief.

Thank you again Andrea and Salvador for your lovely hospitality.
More to come… classroom activities and animals!

Please go to for more information.

Tapping Into Splendid Imagination Before Planting Trees

From Julie Ghrist

In June, Allison and Cheryl (AoC’s ED and Board Member respectively) arrived from the US while photographer friend Andrew joined us in Rwanda from the UK. All travelers were willing and able to help the team in all ways possible. Our first afternoon together was at the office and included practicing our ‘becoming trees’ exercise. Cheryl practices movement with dedication so with Valerie the two were the most exquisitely inspirational teachers for this exercise.

Becoming trees at Art of Conservation 2013At the office, Valerie guides us in a creative exercise of imagining we are trees.

In the classroom, asked to find space in a rather crowded classroom Cheryl and Valerie guide the children in various stages of a tree. Beginning as a seed to imagining our toes are the roots and our skin the bark to our fingers leaves fluttering in the wind. Our arms are strong branches which monkeys, gorillas, and insects can move upon.

Becoming trees at Art of Conservation 2013Cheryl and Valerie inspire children to consider themselves as a seed in the ground to a grown tree.

Fully energized the children race out of the classroom to plant trees.

Fun lessons. Art of Conservation 2013Students bring along bat and monkey puppets, spiders, and more to plant trees.

Adrien Niyonshuti – A Role Model

From Julie Ghrist

I spoke with Pierre Carrey from Union Cycliste International recently. He has written an article on the new “Adrien Niyonshuti Cycling Academy” in Rwanda and asked to include a photo we took when Team Rwanda’s Jock Boyer and Kimberly Coats kindly arranged Adrien to chat with our sports kids. The photo below captures our kids happiness when receiving Adrien’s autograph on the really cool stickers Kimberly gave to them. Please enjoy Pierre’s article below and congratulations to all for the work being done.

Rwanda launches its academy for young cyclists
By Pierre Carrey
Rwanda launches its academy for young cyclists

The Rwandan Cycling Federation will inaugurate the “Adrien Niyonshuti Cycling Academy” on May 26th. Named after the country’s best rider of the moment, the academy will prepare up and coming riders, both men and women.

The academy will enable riders aged from 16 to 18 (Junior category) to reconcile sport and studies, thanks to a training centre that is open in the evenings, the weekends and the school holidays. In the first year, 15 boys and 8 girls will train at the centre in Rwamagana, east of Kigali.

The trainees will study at one of the city’s excellent institutions and, at the same time, will benefit from a comprehensive cycling apprenticeship at the academy: training, nutrition, tactics (from watching videos), mechanics… At the end of their training they will be able to focus on a professional career in cycling and sport, or join Rwanda’s national team.

“In order to obtain future champions, it is necessary to provide riders with quality support from a young age,” explains Aimable Bayingana, President of the Rwanda Cycling Federation. “The academy will nurture these young talents in a region of the country that encourages cycling, but it will of course train athletes from all over Rwanda.”

UCI President Pat McQuaid adds, “The International Cycling Union supports this excellent initiative which is directed at the grassroots. We hope that the most talented of the trainees at the Adrien Niyonshuti Cycling Academy will be able to come to the World Cycling Centre in Switzerland or its satellite in South Africa to perfect their training. Rwanda is an example to be followed in cycling because it is building its future in the wider sense and places a great deal of importance in cycling both from a social and sporting point of view”.

More than 200 bikes distributed in Rwanda

The man behind the academy, Adrien Niyonshuti, aged 27, has put a great deal into the project. Rwanda’s flag-bearer at the London Olympic Games, the professional with UCI Professional Continental (second division) Team MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung is the country’s best-known sportsman. He is a symbolic representative of the generation that endured the genocide in 1994, but he managed to come out of this trauma to achieve a certain level of sporting success.

The athlete, out of road competition since February due to thrombosis, has devoted the last few weeks to his academy projects. “Before retiring, I want to make use of my notoriety to develop this academy,” he said. “The people of Rwanda need to understand that cycling can sometimes be a means of buying a house and a car. Today I lead a good life thanks to this sport and I would like to see other youngsters able to follow suit.”

The Adrien Niyonshuti Cycling Academy, which is still looking for sponsors, has the support of the association World Bicycle Relief. More than Qhubeka 200 bikes are due to be distributed to youngsters from 10 years old so that they can get to school more easily. These bikes will simplify their day-to-day life as well as facilitate the detection of new candidates for the academy.

The national coach Jock Boyer and the association project Rwanda will provide logistical support. The former American professional has already helped raise funds with a mountain bike event, the “50 Mile Ride for Project Rwanda” organised on April 27th at Foothill Ranch, California.

“It was Jock who introduced me to high level cycling in 2007,” says Niyonshuti. “He formed the national team, and cycling progressed considerably in Rwanda. Today, through the academy, I would like to help the National Federation develop our sport. It’s a way for me to give something back to cycling.”

Photo (credit Julie Ghrist): Adrien Niyonshuti, very popular in Rwanda, is a role model for young cyclists and, in this case, for tennis players.

Brownie Troop Gets Behind-the-Scenes Visit to Santa Barbara Zoo

From Guest Blogger - Mary ElliotBy Mary Elliott for Brownie Troop 50305

When 11 second-grade girls gathered around Santa Barbara Zoo zookeeper Lacy Byrnes, they were quietly looking toward bachelor residents Goma and Kivu, two male Silverback gorillas munching on their afternoon treats while relaxing in their habitat.

Santa Barbara Zoo keeper, Lacy ByrnesSanta Barbara Zoo zookeeper Lacy Byrnes.

As Byrnes spoke about these disappearing creatures and their plight on the critically endangered list, the girls listened intently while gazing toward the great apes before them.

As part of learning about conservation, while also earning badges, Brownie Troop 50305 got a behind-the-scenes tour at the Santa Barbara Zoo by gorilla keeper Lacey Brynes. She explained the day-to-day life of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s two male silverback gorillas.

While working in facts about the gorillas’ plight, Brynes also talked about a more elusive species — the mountain gorilla, found only in their natural habitat at Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest in Uganda and the Virunga Massif in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Brownie Troop 50305 got a behind-the-scenes tour at the Santa Barbara Zoo Brownie Troop 50305 members, left from, Tilly Dozier, Alyssa Silva, Collette Johnson, Charlotte Hamilton, Lauren Elliott, Sequoia Chamlee, Elaia Hamilton, Carah Shapiro, Elizabeth Leka, Catherine Bryson and Leila Suleimanagich visit the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Their zoo visit is part of a bigger project in which the Brownies then learned more about the mountain gorilla, and how with only approximately 880 left in the wild, they face extinction.

With their new in-depth look at the gorillas and the knowledge and information still fresh after the zoo visit, the girls had the opportunity to write to girls their own age who live near the more endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Through Art of Conservation, the girls were able to ask girls their own age questions about living so close to such rare and raw beauty.

The exchange proved difficult in that no mail is reaching Rwanda at the moment. Julie Ghrist, founder of the Art of Conservation, suggested that the Brownies email their questions, and then she would have the girls in Rwanda answer via the Art of Conservation blog.

The 7- and 8-year-old girls questions were straightforward: “Why would someone want to hurt a mountain gorilla?” was the most commonly asked question. Followed by, “Have any of the girls in Rwanda ever seen a mountain gorilla up close?” They also wanted to know what it was like to live in a place that could top Santa Barbara in the exotic and extreme.

The correspondence between the girls is inspiring and recorded on their blogs, found on AoC’s website by clicking here. Art of Conservation runs education programs for children in rural communities bordering Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and allowed for the opportunity to open up conversation between two groups of diverse kids striving for the same goals.

Art of Conservation is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization operating in Rwanda that promotes conservation through educating and empowering communities. Art of Conservation provides innovative conservation and health education that directly affects the critically endangered mountain gorilla. AoC’s educational model encourages students to use creativity to build life skills and gain reverence for themselves, their community and the world. AoC also develops and supports local income-generating initiatives for adults that create sustainable growth.

The Santa Barbara Zoo gave the Brownies a behind-the-scenes tour of the lowland gorillas, and through its local programs and camps had educated many of the girls in the Brownie Troop before in some capacity. They also partner with a company called Eco-Cell. The zoo collects old cell phones and sends them to Eco-Cell, where they are refurbished and sold domestically and abroad. The money raised by the sale of these cell phones is used to fund the position of eco-guards in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These employees patrol and monitor the habitat of the Western lowland gorillas, and are an integral part in reducing the amount of poaching in these areas.

Brownie Troop 30505, led by co-leaders Mary Elliott and Liz Venegas, made friends and earned badges, but more importantly they learned that there is a connection in this world from our own Channel Islands, to the forests of Rwanda, and they can be empowered to help change the dwindling number of 880 mountain gorillas (just as much as the children living there). For if not for our children and their guardianship over Earth’s great treasures, these great animals, much like our whales, will go the way of extinction.

— Mary Elliott is a co-leader for Brownie Troop 50305.