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The AFC Conservation Artist Award is awarded monthly to honour a member for outstanding artistic talent and extraordinary contribution to the conservation cause. At the end of each year, a prior recipient of the monthly honour is selected for the annual Simon Combes Conservation Award.

The Simon Combes Conservation Award was created by the AFC in February 2005 to honour Combes' memory. Combes, world-renowned painter, author, instructor and dedicated conservationist, was tragically killed by a charging Cape Buffalo while hiking near his home in Kenya on December 12, 2004.  At the time, Combes was the Director of the Kenya chapter of the Rhino Rescue Trust (www.rhinorescue.org), an organization founded in 1985 to protect endangered species from poachers and to help the communities surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park affected by wildlife conflicts.   As this is the first year for the award, the first recipient has yet to be selected.

Barry MacKay
Barry’s interest in wildlife dates to his earliest memories. His late mother was a pioneer in wildlife rehabilitation, and Barry grew up in a house that was filled with wildlife. He also assisted his mother and other adults in banding many thousands of birds, and learned to become a skilled preparator of preserved bird specimens of value to science and necessary in much of his artwork, since art was of equal interest and importance to him, also for as long as he can remember. He devoted his life and career to the study of natural history, and the protection of birds and other wildlife. He has maintained a thirty plus year relationship with the Animal Protection Institute, which recently became Born Free USA, doing animal protection work. He is also a founding director of Zoocheck-Canada; a founding director of the Animal Alliance of Canada; a founding member of Species Survival Network, a member and former executive officer of the Toronto Ornithological Club; a member and former director of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists; a former director of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies; a former director of the Toronto Humane Society; a former director of the Canadian Society for Endangered Birds; a life member of the Wilson Ornithological Society; a member of the Ontario Field Ornithologists; an honorary life member of the Second Marsh Defense Association, an honorary life member of the Pickering Naturalists and a member of the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators and a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation.

“If I had my choice, I’d like to paint,” remarks Barry. At the same time, he feels he has to direct his time towards his extensive advocacy work on behalf of animals and the environment. Lately, he has challenged wildlife management policies that demonize individual animal species, such as Double-crested Cormorants, often on specious grounds, thus justifying massive kills. “So often,” he says, “the science employed is faulty, and leads to illogical conclusions that are predetermined by political, not ecological, considerations.”  He is currently writing a series of essays, as yet unpublished, on the issue of wildlife culling.  He has previously worked extensively on the international trade in wildlife species, trying to help provide protection for species in decline because of that threat.  He has often challenged pro wildlife use dogma, especially within the Canadian context.   “Canadians are fine,” he says, “but Canadian governments have been generally reluctant to face, let alone correct, the numerous forces working to reduce populations of a suite of species.”

Barry has participated in numerous activities related to bird and nature study and conservation. As a fast sketch artist he promoted interest in wildlife during 16 years of appearances on a nationally syndicated children’s television show. He did field work for the Royal Ontario Museum and for the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Costa Rica; illustrated the reptiles and amphibians of the Toronto Zoo; illustrates various scientific covers and papers in various technical journals. He was well known and respected for his Nature Trail column, published weekly in the Toronto Star for a period of 25 years. His writings and articles have appeared in numerous magazines such as Birds of the Wild; Defenders; BirdWatchers’ Digest; Seasons; Mainstream; and Animal Issues; and as feature articles in The Toronto Star and various other publications, large and small. He now regularly blogs for Born Free USA and other organizations.

Barry’s fine art has graced the pages of many popular magazines such as City; Defenders; Bird Watchers Digest; Ontario Naturalist; Seasons; Mainstream; National Audubon; and journals such as The Living Bird and Ontario Birds and The Journal of Raptor Research. He was named the year’s artist for 2013 by Environment for the Americas’ International Migratory Bird Day, and the 2013 artist of the year by Bird Studies Canada.

He has also illustrated several books such as Wrens, Mockingbirds and Dippers of the World (by A. D. Brewer, Pica Press, U.K., 2001), A Field Guide to the Birds of the Galapagos (by M.P. Harris, Collins, 1974) and Songbirds: Celebrating Nature’s Voices (by Ronald I. Orenstein, Key Porter, 1997), and Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Steven Latta., et al., Princeton University Press, 2006).He wrote and illustrated the Birdwatcher’s Companion ( Key Porter, 1994). In 1968 the Book Society published Eighty More Land Birds to Know, written and illustrated by a youthful Barry Kent MacKay. “I try to forget that one,” laughs Barry, but he is pleased to admit that one of his proudest moments came when his mentor, Roger Tory Peterson, chose one of his oil paintings of Ruddy Turnstones as an illustration for The Audubon Society Baby Elephant Folio, Audubon’s Birds of America, by Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson, Abbeville Press, 1981. Wash drawings by Barry appeared in Birds of the Oshawa – Lake Scugog Region, by Ronald G. Tozer and James M. Richards (1974).


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New Members of the WNAG
wildlife art Dale Weiler
Stone Sculptures
Dale Weiler feels he was born to be a stone sculptor.  "Sculpting stone nurtures my soul and allows to me to create something in which I can truly take pride. Plain and simple, it’s what I was put on this earth to do."   He was also destined to devote much of his time, energy and artistic skills to the conservation of the natural world. 
Read more about
Dale Weiler...
 
wildlife art Bruce Lawes
Specializing in Wildlife, Equine and landscape paintings
The bottom line for AFC Signature artist Bruce Lawes:  “Without the individual and corporate efforts today, we may not be able to preserve and enjoy all we cherish with our children tomorrow
Read more about
Bruce Lawes...
 
wildlife art Chirag Thumbar
India Wildlife paintings
VChirag Thumbar works with organizations and NGOs for awareness and conservation causes for wildlife in India. He encourages the young generation of surrounding villages of the protected areas to appreciate the nature and utilize their artistic skill to generate revenue. He donates a percentage out of the sale of paintings every year to support financially NGOs and  Conservation Foundations.


Read more about
Chirag Thumbar...
 
wildlife art Krish Krishnan
Author - Artist - Traveler
"Through pen and paint I seek to portray the emotional essence of such places. As a much-exhibited artist I focus on landscapes and wildlife, capturing their essence using a variety of techniques including scratchboards, watercolors, and acrylic mediums. 
Read more about
Krish Krishnan...
 

 

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Nature Art | Wildlife Art
Original Painting

"Walking a Fine Line 2"
By Norbert Gramer
32 x 52
Watercolor & oxidation
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Original Sculpture

"Feathers, Form, and Function "
By Chris Maynard
8.5 x 11 x 0.5 (inches)
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