Tag Archives: critically endangered species

Fantastic Updates From Rwanda

From Valerie

Art of Conservation started the one-health awareness programs at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. The Rwandan team: Valerie, Eric, Innocent, Olivier, and Eusebe continue carrying on AoC’s work!! If you recall, the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club is one of the great local community initiatives that we have been supporting for eight years. Children are provided the opportunity to exercise, practice teamwork, and gain a sense of accomplishment. In addition to that the club also brings local people together leading to a stronger sense of community and pride while playing sports in the name of conservation.

My colleagues and I say, “Let us carry on this great initiative!” The children are eager to know more about what surrounds them in order to protect them!

Recently, our discussion began with review questions from previous lessons. I ask, “Somebody please tell me the name of Rwanda’s three national parks.” The children raise their hands saying, “Me! Please, me! Please!” This is different from what happens during our lessons with children in schools. They say, “Teacher, teacher!” It draws my attention and makes me happy when I see happy children wanting to respond to questions and eager to learn!

CHT at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeChildren are excited to respond to the review question before I introduce the new topic of the day.

We distribute a map to each child. I ask them to point to the areas depicting mountain gorilla habitat.

Studying gorilla habitat. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeEach child points and shows me the two places where mountain gorillas live: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Massif.

I keep on monitoring the children to make sure they all understand that our gorillas live in only two places. I know some children are young and they may have been distracted by a passing car on the road since the tennis courts are located next to a main road!

CHT at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeI help our students study the map.

I guide the kids thoroughly on what the Virunga Massif means with the help of another close-up illustration. They now know that mountain gorillas are not only in Rwanda but in other neighboring countries namely, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They also learn the name of the park in each country. It is such a discovery for these children to know what the Virunga Massif is made up with.

One-health awareness in Rwanda. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeOur youth sports kids ask questions as we study the Virunga Massif.

The next session is the art activity. During this session, children have fun. Their drawings are very good. The first excise they draw a proportional silverback mountain gorilla and the second exercise they draw their own mountain gorilla.

Eric working with kids. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeWith Eric’s instruction, children have fun drawing a proportionally correct silverback mountain gorilla using a pencil and they paint their artwork with watercolors.

Coach Rachid joins. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeHappily, Coach Rachid joins the children during the workshop. “Do gorillas live in one family?” he asks. This might be our next workshop topic. Let us think about it.

Gorilla drawings. ©Conservation Heritage - Turambe

Stay tuned for more blogs coming!


-Art of Conservation completed seven years of successful conservation programming in Rwanda with the exciting announcement that its local staff has launched their own nonprofit, Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT). Turambe means “let us be sustainable” in Kinyarwanda. 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!-

Allison Contributes To The Gorilla Journal

From Julie

Allison Hanes writes about the work of Art of Conservation in the latest Gorilla Journal. In addition to Allison’s article, you’ll find other important news including a discussion on the economic value of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I’d like to thank editor Dr. Angela Meder for putting out such an informative journal and for incorporating Allison’s article in this latest edition.

Please click here Gorilla Journal No. 47, December 2013.

Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation 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!

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 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.

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.

AoC’s World Premier Short Film at New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

From Julie

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Art of Conservation’s Allison Hanes and Cheryl Stockton helped present our World Premier Short Film at New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in October. This film was made to share with the public the successful work AoC has been carrying out in Rwanda for over seven years, as well as highlight our present expansion with new initiatives in Guyana, Panama, and other locations this year.

New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival October 2013

Thank you New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival for putting together talented compassionate individuals and groups doing amazing conservation work. It helps keep the spark alive being surrounded by the energy of such wonderful people doing such important work.

AoC’s Exhibition & Fundraiser is quickly approaching. Click here and get your tickets today!

For more information and ways to get involved with AoC please email [email protected]

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]

Talking Otters at Yupakari

From Julie

Salvador de Caires joined Lucy, Allison, and I on Day 4 as we ventured by boat to Yupakari Village which is in the North Rupununi region of southern Guyana and about a 30 minute journey from Karanambu Trust and Lodge. While traversing through this terrain one is surely watched by any number of these fascinating animals: Giant River Otter, Black Caiman, Arapaima, jaguar, Giant Anteater, capybara, ocelot, margay, Howler and Capuchin monkeys, tapir, deer, peccaries, fox, frogs, toads, lizards, tortoises, snakes, birds, and insects.

Yupakari Village-Caiman House, Guyana. ©Art of Conservation 2013At the Caiman House with students.

One of Karanambu Trust and Lodge neighbors and partners who together work on land use schemes is Yupakari Village. Here they offer eco-tourism and a learning center called the Caiman House. I was so impressed with Caiman House and the librarians running it. Books, computers, and classroom are intact and used by the village children.

Fernando Li at Caiman House. ©Art of Conservation 2013Lucy, Salvador, Allison, and Fernando at Caiman House.

Fernando Li is the manager of the ‘Rupununi Learners’. After he so kindly got us situated on the top floor – it felt like we were in a fun treehouse – we began working with a group of boys and girls.

Yupakari Village-Caiman House, Guyana. ©Art of Conservation 2013Student Leya Moses studies photographs and paints.

Our focus was on Giant River Otters which the children refer to as ‘river dogs’. Lucy and Allison added to our discussion and moved about the room sharing photographs from Lucy’s previous trips to Karanambu. We used watercolors to paint a proportionally correct otter and illustrate a scene which included one or more river dogs. Thanks again to artist Amy Harris for her proportional drawings she did for us before the trip!

Yupakari Village-Caiman House, Guyana. ©Art of Conservation 2013Samuel Martdehaam busy experimenting with brushes.

At some point during the lively exercise, Lucy, Allison, and I all asked ourselves, “Where are you Eric, Eusebe, Valerie, Innocent, Olivier? We need your help!” Our Rwanda team was sorely missed!

Yupakari Village-Caiman House, Guyana. ©Art of Conservation 2013Student Samuel’s village scene illustration of a river dog, person with a collection of bird eggs delivered by the bird above, and a fisherman.

I loved our afternoon at Caiman House and want to thank Fernando and his colleagues for making it such a special time. Keep up the great work!

Please enjoy Lucy’s Giant River Otter photos below.

Diane McTurk with Giant River Otter  ©Lucy SpelmanDiane McTurk with Sappho and Tsunami. ©Lucy Spelman

Giant River Otter at Karanambu. ©Lucy SpelmanBelle, 2011. ©Lucy Spelman

Buddy at Karanambu. ©Lucy SpelmanBuddy eating an Arapaima.©Lucy Spelman

Please join us at our Exhibition & Fundraiser on November 22nd, 2013. For more information, please click here. Thanks.