Hawai'i conservation alliance

Conservation through Art Initiative

Communicating the Concepts of Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation through Art

Chair: Betsy Gagne, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Submitted by: Michelle Clark, USFWS

Tuesday, August 2, 1-3 PM, Room 313BC

As conservationists, we understand the need to preserve and protect Hawaii’s unique species and ecosystems.  Yet most of Hawaii’s resident population and visitors are unaware that Hawaii is home to a spectacular array of endemic species but is also the endangered species capitol of the world.  Increasing pressures on native species and ecosystems such as climate change, habitat degradation and fragmentation threaten what remains.   It is imperative to engage the community in conservation so they can make informed decisions about the complex environmental issues facing Hawaii's communities and the world. Many rare and endangered species are in remote wilderness areas, inaccessible to the general public.  Art, in its many forms, can shine a light on these relatively inaccessible species and habitats and connect local people and visitors to the unique life forms that inhabit these islands.  Artistic communications can tell the story of native biodiversity and ecosystems and have the capacity to inform a broader audience than government agencies and conservation leaders may be able to convey. An informed and inspired public may be more willing to support what sometimes could be considered controversial conservation actions, such as the eradication of invasive species.

Speakers and Topics: Panel members will have 10 minutes to introduce themselves and reflect on their art form(s) or conservation projects and discuss ways to encourage collaborations between artists and conservationists in order to raise awareness to the plight of Hawaii's threatened ecosystems.  The remaining time will be an open discussion between panel members and the audience.

Panel Members:

  • Melissa Chimera, Artist and Conservationists
  • Blair Collis, President, Bishop Museum
  • Marilyn Cristofori, CEO, Hawai'i Arts Alliance
  • Susan Middleton, Author and Fine Art Photographer of Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals
  • Steve Perlman, Research Biologist, National Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Rich Richardson, Creative Director for The ARTs at Marks Garage
  • Laurie Sumiye, Director/Producer, Struggle for Existence, film