Tag Archives: conservation

Major Announcement: Art of Conservation Goes Global!

After months of intensive field visits and meetings with potential partners and community members, ART OF CONSERVATION is officially global! We are bringing our vital assistance programs to communities in ecologically sensitive areas throughout the Caribbean Basin, which includes Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, and Guyana.

After our inspiring and enduring success in Rwanda, we will now inspire children and their families to conserve biodiversity through creative learning and one-health awareness. Julie Ghrist, our Founder and Program Director, will be moving to our new base within the jungles of Tulum in Quintana Roo, Mexico, in just a few weeks.

Staying Healthy with AoC"s One-Healthy Habits©Art of Conservation

Your help can make a world of difference! Please consider making a donation to help fund this critical expansion.

Bringing our proven AoC model to new communities halfway across the world costs a lot, as you would imagine! We can’t do it without your support. We rely on contributions we get from supporters like you to help provide the necessary resources, such as:

$25 provides basic and vital supplies such as textbooks and art supplies for our classrooms

$50 provides toothbrushes and personal health items for children

$100 provides a full year of conservation education for a Mexican child

$250 provides all students the opportunity to attend a weekend family conservation and health workshop

$500 provides Art of Conservation the funding needed to employ local artists and staff to effectively reach our community-based conservation goals in Tulum, Mexico

To continue the important work of Art of Conservation, inspiring and educating children and families worldwide about conserving biodiversity and living healthy, we need you to donate today! During our transition your support is more critical than ever for us to continue our work.

Location, Location, Location!

When Julie Ghrist first arrived in Rwanda 8 years ago, our greatest possible outcome was for local leaders to continue and sustain our work. That vision is now a reality through the work of a newly created partner organization, Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT). Read here for more details about CHT and the enduring AoC legacy in Africa.

Now we can bring that proven track record to another vulnerable community – this time within the Caribbean Basin. This region is exceptionally diverse in so many ways – culturally, biologically, and geologically, all within a relatively small area.

AoC will now be working in marine environments, linking connections between marine and terrestrial ecosystems!

  • In northern Honduras, the edge of the Mesoamerican reef (the second largest coral reef on Earth) is less than an hour’s drive from a Garifuna fishing village in one direction, and a stunning mountain rainforest full of toucans in another.
  • In primordial southwestern Guyana where giant anteaters, jaguar, and giant otters are still plentiful, Macushi Amerindians live on expansive savannas and fish in rivers that overflow during the wet season.
  • And in coastal Mexico, The Maya people of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula live near a variety of habitats, including dry and wet tropical forests, mangrove swamps, lagoons, and cenotes—all rich with wildlife.

This is AoC’s vision of one-health conservation!

Our novel approach to conservation outreach has made a significant difference in Rwanda, and we look forward to sharing it with children and their families first in Quintana Roo in Mexico, and then throughout the Caribbean Basin.

Please consider making a donation to fund our work during this very exciting yet critical transition into the Caribbean Basin.

FOUR Things You Can Do Now to Help Ensure Success:

DONATE at Art of Conservation

PROMOTE! Share this with 5 of your friends and ask them to consider making a donation!

SHARE! Find AoC on your favorite social media platforms and share our work with your friends!

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Lastly, we have launched an updated website designed to keep everyone up to date on our exciting progress. We’re so excited to begin sharing updates on our progress, challenges, and the new friends we are making in the Caribbean Basin!

Thank you again for your support!

Julie Ghrist, Founder and Program Director
Allison Hanes, Executive Director

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

Exploring Panama

From Julie

I arrived in Panama a few days in advance of what will be a very interesting conference organized by Earth Train and partners called Spotlighting Biocultural Leadership with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE. As you may know, Art of Conservation is underway with exciting strategic planning including exploring potential new base of operations with Panama being of key interest. The short time I’ve been here I am enjoying myself immensely and learning a lot. My guides are knowledgeable and hospitable. In just three days I’ve been in the forest, on top of the forest, in the jungle, boating in dugout canoes, swimming under waterfalls, meeting beautiful people and learning about their cultures. The museum at the Miraflores Lock is interactive and informative. People from all over the world gather to view this modern marvel, the Panama Canal. Local food is delicious, my Spanish is terrible, and I am always looking for animals.

Panama City. ©Art of Conservation 2013A view of downtown Panama from the Causeway.

Panama Canal 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013At the Panama Canal Miraflores Lock Museum. Thank you Mr. Thelen for giving my friends and I our history lesson in Des Moines!

Canopy Crane. Guide Igua and Park Service Staff. ©Art of Conservation 2013At the Canopy Crane in Metropolitan National Park with a park staff member and my guide Igua.

Canopy Crane ©Art of Conservation 2013The Canopy Crane made possible by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The operator was smiling from his cab and directed our perch to spectacular sites which is 42 meters tall and we were out at 51 meters from the tour.

3-toed beautiful sloth in Panama. Canopy Crane©Art of Conservation 2013A male 3-toed sloth was the first animal we saw in the canopy!

Howler Monkey with baby in Panama. Canopy Crane©Art of Conservation 2013After descending from the canopy, Igua and I took a wonderful walk in the Metropolitan National Park and spotted Howler Monkeys. Igua reports this troop has grown.

Embera Indians in Panama 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013In Parque Nacional Chagres (crocodiles) with Embera children.

Embera Indians in Panama 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013More beautiful children in Chagres National Park.

Panama ©Art of Conservation 2013Regrouping by studying a map.

Please join us at our Pratt Exhibition and Fundraiser in New York City on 22 November 2013. Tickets are going quickly! Thank you for your support.

A Conservation with Jeremy at Mongabay

From Julie

Recently I had the fortunate opportunity to have a conversation with Jeremy Hance at Mongabay. Jeremy serves as senior writer and editor. He is the author of Life is Good: Conservation in an Age of Mass Extinction.

Please click here to read our story Art, education, and health: holistic conservation group embarks on new chapter

Thank you Mongabay for allowing AoC to be part of your excellent rainforest and nature conservation news!

©mongabay.comPhoto courtesy of Mongabay

Sold Out! Wildlife Conservation Network Expo a Big Success

From Julie

Allison, AoC’s Executive Director, was busy last Saturday, 12 October 2013, at the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Expo at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. The expo was sold out. The dedicated people at WCN did a very good job putting it together. The speaker schedule included Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Dr. Ian Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, Rebecca Klein of Cheetah Conservation Botswana and more well-known conservationists.

I send a special thanks to our volunteers – April and Tida!

Joe Lamb, Carson, Allison at Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco, 2013. ©Art of ConservationAllison with Borneo Project’s founder Joe Lamb and his daughter Carson.

Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco, 2013. ©Art of ConservationExpo attendees having fun with paper mache animal masks made in Rwanda by Eric and Eusebe.

Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco, 2013. ©Art of ConservationPatty and Allison with Dr. James Sanderson of Small Cat Conservation Alliance.

Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco, 2013. ©Art of ConservationAllison was happy to be with friends and helpful volunteers! Pictured left to right: April, Patty, Allison, and Tida.

WCN 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013A thrilling moment for Allison speaking with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE.

On behalf of everyone at AoC, I’d like to thank WCN for including us at your successful expo and the supportors who stopped by our table. Best wishes to all.

A reminder, please get your Pratt tickets here for Art of Conservation’s Exhibition & Fundraiser in New York City on November 22nd. Thank you!

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: http://www.art-of-conservation.org/pratt

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]

Join AoC at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo

From Julie Ghrist

Art of Conservation’s Executive Director, Allison Hanes, will be an expo associate at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in October. If you are in San Francisco, please drop by to say hello to her and learn more about AoC’s one-health conservation education and health awareness programs as well as listen to Jane Goodall -WCN’s keynote speaker. Thank you!
WCN Expo October 2013

From WCN-
Each year WCN brings together the world’s best wildlife conservationists to exhibit and speak about issues concerning endangered species around the world. In 2013 Jane Goodall, DBE will once again be our keynote speaker! Other attendees will include Sir Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, Dr. Laurie Marker of Cheetah Conservation Fund, and the rest of the WCN Partners.

October 12, 2013
10am to 6pm
Mission Bay Conference Center
San Francisco, CA
Keynote Speaker: Jane Goodall, DBE

Hard To Say Good-Bye To Such Special Children

From Julie
From Julie

As Olivier shared in his previous blog, our 2012 conservation and health education students are graduating from a fantastic year of learning. As I look through photographs I’ve taken I think how much these children have matured and how much I will miss them. While it is difficult to ‘track’ each and every past AoC student, we are doing our best to follow their progress and will keep you informed as well.

Innocent calls the name of each student to come up and receive their decorated envelope containing maps, worksheets, drawings, and more.

Our scheduled Parents as Partners Open House at Rushubi met us with heavy afternoon rain. Instead of gathering outside in the school yard, we manage to squeeze parents, guardians, and students into a classroom.

Students perform a skit with messages of following daily hygiene habits to stay healthy.

Weeks before the open houses, we requested the students to create a few entertainment pieces with a condition that they have something to do with the lessons learned at AoC. To our great satisfaction, the children come up with insightful renditions of conservation and health education exercises.

Sweet student Pascal reads a heartfelt poem about what he has learned and felt during AoC classes.

Well, I know my team and I will fall in love with next years kids, but it’s sad to say goodbye to these children.

Making Briquettes = Making Money

Happy Holidays! Innocent here with my last blog of 2011. At AoC, when the year is reaching its end and our students are on vacation, my team members and I tend to office business, research, and even taking it a bit easy. I also take more time with Cecile and her family, our Save The Forests Briquette Initiative partner, discussing topics that we cover with our students in the classrooms. Realistically speaking, briquette-making requires teamwork. For instance, there has to be someone in charge of pushing down the handle of the press, another person getting the briquettes out of the PVC pipe, and yet another person in charge of taking them to the drying table, etc. That’s why I dedicated my last 2011 discussion with Cecile and her family to teamwork. I also chose this topic because Cecile and AoC achieved a lot this year which couldn’t have happened if we hadn’t worked as a team.

Cecile's daughter Monique as the family's accountant!  Save The Forests Briquette Initiative.  AoC 2011After selling two sacks of briquettes, the family appoints Cecile’s oldest daughter Monica as the family’s treasurer. See Monica counting the money! What trust!

I asked this great family if they value the teamwork spirit that is so prevalent amongst them and they were like yes!

Rwandan Francs earned from briquette income generating initiative.  Art of Conservation 2011With great pleasure, each and every family member is delighted to touch and feel the money earned from making and selling briquettes!

Cecile and her family make briquettes mainly to protect the environment and, of course, to make some money for the family to live on.

Making money by making briquettes.  Art of Conservation 2011.Amazing! 10 notes of 1,000 frw each per 10 family members!

The entire family is quite happy because of this briquette money and they are really committed to make more briquettes and earning more money. I hope this blog will make you all look at the year 2012 we are starting soon with a sense of hope. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year dear readers! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year dear Cecile and your family!

Save the Forests Briquette Initiative Demonstration at Valerie’s House

We had a very successful demonstration of how briquettes work at Valerie’s house on Sunday (16th January). Valerie had borrowed benches from a nearby church and asked the elders to spread the message to the people in her neighbourhood to come for a demonstration on this alternative source of fuel.

Briquettes are made from sawdust and waste paper, hence recycling paper to save our environment. They are also an alternative to charcoal and if the local community starts using briquettes, it will be quite an achievement in our conservation efforts and a positive step towards protecting our forests.

Valerie, Innocent, Eric, Olivier and I were there to represent AoC. Cecile and Immaculate, who make the briquettes, were there too. The turnout was large and we began by welcoming them and explaining to them what briquettes are and how they are related to the conservation efforts.

Save the Forests Briquette Initiative demonstration in Valerie's village. AoC 2011. Innocent and Valerie explaining about briquettes to an attentive audience.

Once we had the crowd’s attention, we showed them how to light and start a fire using briquettes. We had two stoves, and just as we did on Wednesday we put an equal amount of water in two cooking pots (isafuriya) and let it boil. The crowd (mostly women and a few children) watched as the stoves worked efficiently, comparable to a charcoal stove.

Interested neighbors at Valerie's house for briquette demonstration. AoC 2011.Interested neighbours watch as the stoves are lit.

When the water boiled, rice was put in to cook and they continued explaining to the audience how it all works, patiently answering all their questions.

At the demonstration - a nicely cooked pot of rice. Rwanda AoC 2011.Fully cooked rice, yummy!

At the end of it all was the sale. The initial offering price of a sack of briquettes was Rwandan francs 5000, comparable to a sack of charcoal. To motivate the buyers, a free stove was given if the person bought a sack.

We actually sold all the briquettes we had! And in addition, took orders for more!

Cecile made money - amafaranga!- Sunday's demonstration at Valerie's house. Rwanda AoC 2011.Innocent receiving money from the sale of briquettes while Olivier records the goings-on, including orders for more briquettes.