Conservation Through Art and Education
Arts for Animals is a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 and dedicated to the preservation of endangered species through conservation stewardship education by utilizing creative inspiration and excitement . It sprang from a desire shared by artist Anne London ,and her husband ,Jim Hart, to do something concrete to save the wildlife they had grown to love. Both of them feel that the key to preserving the world's wildlife lies in the minds and attitudes of our planet's children.
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, along with drawing tools and art supplies, to schools and conservation education camps across Botswana ,Zambia and Zimbabwe. Anne visits new schools and education programs each year to teach the kids and help their teachers develop skills to use these posters and aids and continue the 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 Jabulani 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 600 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 and used for client notes. 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 Jabulani 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 Jabulani 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 using art to help teach wildlife conservation .
In 2017, we hired a new ARTS FOR ANIMALS WILDLIFE CENTER director /teacher to run advanced art classes, paid for with funds donated by our supporters.
Through conversations with other artist's ,we enlisted two new artists to help ARTS FOR ANIMALS move forward toward it's goals.
Sarah Janece Garcia has become the key to our social media program and has helped save wildlife by donating her art and time to raising money for Ranger scholarships.
David Bjurstrom ,an accomplished, and award winning, pencil artist volunteered to visit our ARTS FOR ANIMALS Wildlife center in Zimbabwe and teach drawing lessons to our students there.
In 2018, we expanded our programs from Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe into South Africa to Timbavati Foundation Bush Camp near Kruger park.Timbavati offers four-day conservation focused camp experiences to children from all over South Africa.Timbavati teaches over 1000 children each year.
With a state-of-the-art facility for recreation and education of children, ARTS FOR ANIMALS helps the staff connect conservation with creativity, making their program even more effective and interesting for their students.
In 2019, ARTS FOR ANIMALS developed up a second conservation Art wildlife Center in Victoria Falls at Mosi Oa Tunya( smoke that thunders- the local name for Victoria Falls) high school. The high school had an excellent space for teaching art but with no art supplies and uninspiring class space, it barely functions. ARTS FOR ANIMALS converted that empty room into an inspiring, motivating art space where children and adults can learn more about art and the importance of their animals using ARTS FOR ANIMALS teachers, lesson plans, and materials. Located in the center of Victoria Falls,Mosi Oa Tunya is one of the largest high schools in Zimbabwe and will enable hundreds more students and adults to be exposed to ARTS FOR ANIMALS programs.
Boxed sets of cards featuring kids artwork help to spread the ARTS FOR ANIMALS message
Artists like David Bjurstrom can show students how diverse art can be
Using his art to connect with the children at the art center, David hopes to instill conservation ideals in the kids
Children are proud to become "Wildlife Protectors"
Spreading the word of Animal Conservation with Conservation posters personalized by each child
The Animal Protector Campaign
Arts for Animals launched its "Wildlife 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 a solemn oath and sign a contract to protect local 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, and PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION BUSH CAMP to grow this program and involve hundreds and hundreds of children in the ANIMAL PROTECTOR program each year.
In 2018, Timbavati Bush camp for children, in South Africa, joined our ARTS FOR ANIMALS partner program to bring the Wildlife Protector program to the villages near Kruger Park. This will grow the ranks of animal protectors by another 1000 children each year, in an area that suffers terribly from animal poaching and habitat depletion.
Today, thanks to help from our friends and partners, over 8000 children have taken the pledge and signed a contract to stop poaching and protect their wildlife.Many have formed groups to patrol their local village to report snares and poachers.
Anne and Jim return to Africa each year to expand ARTS FOR ANIMALS programs and work with local teachers and educators to help them teach the value of art and wildlife. Working with ongoing programs at Children in the Wilderness, Painted Dog Conservation Camp, Mosi oa Tunya High School and Timbavati Foundation , the duo aims to involve tens of thousands of African children in the Wildlife Protector Campaign.
Arts For Animals programs ,connecting conservation and creativity, are now being incorporated in ongoing education programs in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe ,reaching thousands of children each year.