Conservation Through Art and Education
Arts for Animals is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered species through education and artistic inspiration. It sprang from a desire shared by artist Anne London and her husband Jim Hart to protect the animals they viewed in their travels throughout Africa.
How We Started
Anne and Jim designed a poster that teaches children how to draw elephants, rhinos and cheetahs, three species that are rapidly disappearing from Africa. With the poster, the duo designed a teaching plan that connects children's creativity to messages of wildlife conservation and stewardship. These posters and lesson plans are now distributed in schools and conservation education camps across Botswana ,Zambia and Zimbabwe. Anne visits new schools each year to teach the kids and help their teachers develop skills to use these posters and continue to program after she leaves.
Education Process Grows
Anne and Jim began teaching San bushmen children in the Kalahari desert in 2012, with help from the Children in the Wilderness organization. The response from the kids and adults was startling. Elders of the tribe instantly recognized how the disappearance of animals was impacting their daily lives. The irony of teaching bushmen children to draw, knowing that their ancestors drew animals on cave walls well over 3,500 years ago, was not lost on Anne and Jim.
Anne later taught 32 children at Jabalani school in rural Victoria Falls. She showed them how to draw three animals crucial to their future while speaking to them about the importance of protecting wildlife. This school initially began in a tent with just three children and a local woman, who had seen the need to educate the area's children. Jabalani now has over 400 students.
Again, the kids' responses were energizing, and their artwork was amazingly good. The plan was to take samples back to the United States to create and sell notecards, the proceeds of which would be used to raise funds for scholarships and art materials for these children.
Arts for Animals made hundreds of boxes of notecards that are now on sale at high-end safari camps across southern Africa. The notecards have not only raised funds for the program, but they have also boosted awareness and increased interest in helping African children learn the value of art and wildlife. In 2014, Zimbabwe's minister of education visited the Jabalani school. Upon seeing the notecards, he recognized the valuable role of art education in the development of Zimbabwe's children. In an unprecedented move, he appointed a full-time art teacher at Jabalani school. Connecting creativity with conservation has struck a chord with the children and people of Africa.
In 2016, Zimbabwean officials attended the opening of the new ARTS FOR ANIMALS WILDLIFE CENTER and were so impressed, they are planning to use it as a model for Wildlife Education centers across Zimbabwe
Children are proud to become "Animal Protectors"
Spreading the word of Animal Conservation
The Animal Protector Campaign
Arts for Animals launched its Animal Protector Campaign in 2014 to create thousands of young stewards of African wildlife. Using motivational methods similar to the U.S. Boy Scouts, this campaign asks African children to take an oath to protect animals. In exchange, they earn a special blue wristband, similar to the yellow" Livestrong" bracelets in the United States and abroad. That year, 450 children put their hands over their hearts and promised to protect and defend local wildlife from harm. In 2015, some 2,500 more children acknowledged the important role wildlife plays in their heritage and future and vowed to protect the animals.
In 2016, ARTS FOR ANIMALS formed a partnership with CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS, ECO RANGERS, PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION BUSH CAMP and others to grow this program and involve hundreds and hundreds of children in the ANIMAL PROTECTOR program each year.
Anne and Jim return to Africa each year to teach more children the value of art and wildlife. Working with Children in the Wilderness's ongoing programs, the duo aims to involve tens of thousands of African children in the Animal Protector Campaign.
Arts For Animals programs ,connecting conservation and creativity, are being incorporated in ongoing education programs in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe reaching thousands of children each year.