Art of Conservation, Inc.
Conserving Biodiversity Through Creative Learning and One-Health Awareness
Since 2006, Art of Conservation (AoC) has been working to inspire children and their families to conserve biodiversity through creative learning and one-health awareness. Our programs encourage learning through creative expression by combining science-based lesson plans with visual art, poetry, song, dance and sports. By collaborating with socially responsible partners, including conservationists, educators and health professionals, AoC develops both in- and out-of-school lesson plans specific to each community and its conservation challenges. We believe the choices we make on a daily basis must be more sensitive of the environment, more compassionate toward animals, and more integrated with nature, and they will then have a positive ripple effect throughout the world. Within our organization and programming, we emphasize respect, honesty, trust, creativity, kindness, living healthy and the notion that all these core values must be celebrated! In order to conserve biodiversity, we strive to create a positive learning environment, encourage creative learning, raise one-health awareness, inspire capacity building and develop our organization. These goals are achieved by working in natural areas, studying biodiversity, providing role models and partnering with scientists.
Upon completion of seven successful years of work in the Virunga Massif region of Rwanda and providing thousands of hours of educational programming to children, AoC is expanding its one-health messaging to Mesoamerica. In 2013, AoC handed over its Rwandan programming to its Rwandan staff and developed the offshoot local nonprofit, Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT) (“Turambe” in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda’s national language, means “let us be sustainable”). CHT is successfully continuing the one-health focused work and mission of Art of Conservation, realizing a community-based conservation success story. One-health conservation centers upon the concept that the health of local human populations is directly tied to the health of animal populations and therefore to the entire shared environment. As AoC establishes a new base of operations in Mesoamerica, month-long concentrated workshops will be performed with native communities in Mexico. These workshops will take place with local organizations and community members to form lasting partnerships, share educational programming in local fauna and flora and provide programming on one-health conservation. We will administer pre- and post-workshop questionnaires to evaluate the effectiveness of our programming and how it may be revised in future to better suit our new region of Mesoamerica. In 2014, month-long workshops are planned for primary schools in Tulum, Quintana Roo as well as local Mayan and traditional fishing village communities of the southern Yucatán in Mexico.