Hello Fellow Creatures

Creature Conserve is a non-profit outreach organization dedicated to bringing artists and scientists together to foster sustained and informed support for animal conservation. 

Creature Conserve was founded by zoo and wildlife veterinarian, writer, teacher, and conservationist Dr. Lucy Spelman. Watch her TEDx talk here: Art Can Save a Panda


The world of animals as we know it is disappearing

"The extinction rate today is thousands of times above background. Science tells us the animal kingdom cannot survive our massive presence on earth—unless we intervene. It also predicts a ripple effect on human health and society: we rely on animals for food, trade, shelter, sport, companionship, medicine, and spirituality. Art deepens our understanding of this interdependency; it helps us explore how we feel about animals and our relationships with them. Yet our response to the problem of species loss has fallen short. Scientific data and artistic expression, presented separately, have not had their intended impact. 

At Creature Conserve, we believe the solution is to combine these age-old practices. Together, art and science reach a wider audience with a more inclusive message. Science provides the road map for conservation; art motivates people to follow it.

Artists have always been interpreters of our time. Through their eyes, the science of saving species and the importance of taking a one-health approach to conservation becomes accessible, meaningful, and relevant—and, the source of positive change."   

Dr. Lucy Spelman 


We are a mixture of Artists and Scientists

Creature Conserve's founder, Dr. Lucy Spelman has been exploring the interface between art, science, and one-health medicine since returning from Rwanda in 2009 after three years working with mountain gorillas. As a zoo and wildlife veterinarian, she has treated a variety of other endangered species, including giant otters, giant pandas, and Asian elephants. She began teaching biology at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010; she also practices at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists.  

Lucy has an undergraduate degree in biology from Brown University and a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from the University of California at Davis. In 1994, she became the 43rd member of the American College of Zoological Medicine, the first to achieve this milestone right out of residency training. Her work experience includes zoo, wildlife, and small animal medicine; public speaking; writing; teaching; zoo administration—she served as the first female Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo from 2000-2005; and, conservation—she was the Field Manager for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project from 2006-2009.  In addition to scientific articles, she is the author of the National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia and The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes

Lucy is joined on the Board of Directors of Creature Conserve by Abigail Adams (Secretary), Chloe Bulpin, Nicholas Jainschigg (Vice Chair), Nick Klause (Treasurer), Dr. Nicole Merola, and Christina Ward.

Abby is an experienced administrative assistant and grant writer. Chloe is a professional artist; nature, animals, and health are prominent themes in her work. Nick J is a professional artist and associate professor of illustration at RISD; he is also a self-professed science nerd. Nick K is an entrepreneur with a background in art and biology. Nicole is a literary critic; she is head of the department of Literary Arts + Studies and associate professor of Ecocriticism & American Literature at RISD. Christina is a painter, printmaker, and conservationist with experience as a zookeeper and field research assistant. 

Our advisors are Susan Doyle, Richard Gann, Sarah Sun, and Susan Tacent.

To find work by the artists we teach and support, please see the Student Gallery, Artist Interns, and Art Shows