Twenty years ago if someone had asked me what I’d be doing today, I wouldn’t even come close to describing my life. I had just started a full time career as a wildlife artist and was about to embark on my first trip to Africa. I didn’t know what the future would hold. I did know that I loved wildlife and traveling to wild places and I was ready to take more steps in that direction…..and share what I loved through art.
What started then as a once in a lifetime trip to Africa as an artist has turned into many life changing journeys. There have been all kinds of encounters with animals over the years, including a few close calls, and it’s ignited a passion to help secure a wild future for them all.
I’m now networking with conservationists who have dedicated their lives to protecting our planet. But there was one I could only observe from afar. . . a trailblazer I had been reading about since childhood who has been an inspiration to me as a woman, a scientist, an explorer and a UN Messenger for Peace – Dr. Jane Goodall. She seemed unreachable.
That changed 3 years ago when I met her for the first time at a Nature Conservancy Event in Seattle and then on two other occasions at the Wildlife Conservation Network in San Francisco. Meeting her was something I had dreamed of – and held onto as a possibility – and it was as exciting as I imagined. But that was as far as I had allowed myself to imagine. Who could ask for more?
My steps in the world are like the dots I place on paper as an Artist – one following the other, not knowing for sure what the end result will be, but remembering that as long as I follow my heart, everything else will come. And come it did.
Dr. Jane turned 80 on April 3rd and my husband and I had the honor of being with her at her birthday celebration. I was a child in a dream. Formal photos were taken but my favorite will always be this Selfie I took of us – poor quality and all.
And now the rest of the story……the unimagined adventure. I’ll be meeting Dr. Jane in the Republic of Congo at her Chimpanzee Sanctuary early next year. And, safety conditions allowing, assisting her with the relocation/release of one of the orphaned chimpanzees. There’s a Selfie somewhere in that experience!
What captures your heart? Reach for that. That’s your connection to an unimaginable life. And it will come – in ways you never thought possible.
Until next time,
Signature Member Artists for Conservation