Above: Termite, Watercolor by Josh Allen

WE SUPPORT artists-in-the field, conservation RESEARCH, EXHIBITIONS, and study abroad

In our first year of programming (2016), we supported three artist-in-the-field programs—two with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and one with the Mystic Aquarium; formally launched our Facebook and Instagram pages, our online gallery of student artwork, and our online store; organized and sponsored our first exhibition of original artwork by thirty-four professional artists on the topic of the wildlife trade that premiered at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI; and, exhibited canvas prints of original artwork at the annual fundraiser for Foster Parrots Sanctuary, and at the CITES CoP17 meeting in Johannesburg, SA.  

In 2017, we are continuing our artists-in-the-field programs, expanding our research programs to include African elephants and pangolins in addition to giant otters; widening our social media reach; expanding our online store; bringing “Wildlife: Trading and Conservation” to the Wyoming Museum of Wildlife Art and other public spaces; and, launching our Creature Conservation Kits, a citizen scientist/artist program.

Living With Giant Otters, Colored Markers by Derek Miranda

Living With Giant Otters, Colored Markers by Derek Miranda

More about the inspiration for CREATURE CONSERVE

Creature Conserve founder Dr. Lucy Spelman has been exploring the intersection of art, science, and one-health medicine since returning from Rwanda in 2009 after three years working with mountain gorillas.

Two of Dr. Spelman's former patients in Rwanda - mother and baby mountain gorilla.

Two of Dr. Spelman's former patients in Rwanda - mother and baby mountain gorilla.

While working as the Field Manager for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project in Rwanda, Dr. Spelman met Julie Ghrist, a graphic artist and conservationist who had just started an after school creative learning program. Julie invited Dr. Spelman to share her experiences as a biologist with the students, who then made watercolor paintings about what they learned. Their artwork revealed far more about their connection to nature than words. Julie subsequently founded a non-profit, Art of Conservation whose mission is to inspire children, their families, and local communities to conserve biodiversity through creative learning and one-health awareness. 

Dr. Spelman participating in an after school creative learning program for Rwandan school children with the non-profit Art of Conservation.

Dr. Spelman participating in an after school creative learning program for Rwandan school children with the non-profit Art of Conservation.

Once back in the US, Dr. Spelman taught biology for a year at Brown University and then began teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has since developed five new courses. To give students experience combining science and art, Lucy assigns a final project that combines research, writing and visual art. 

Impressed and inspired by the work produced in class for these final projects in 2014, Lucy asked then-students Chloe Bulpin, Insil Choi, and Serena Wu to help her design a website that would archive the work and make it publicly available. The result was the first version of the website and the Student Gallery 

In 2015, Dr. Spelman founded Creature Conserve as a non-profit outreach organization. 

In 2016, Creature Conserve began raising funds and supporting programs.