As a wildlife artist and animal lover I feel it’s really important to do everything we can to protect the natural world. It’s my aim to use my wildlife art to not only connect people to nature, but also to raise awareness and funds to support wildlife conservation projects both in the UK and abroad.
The great Sir David Attenborough set us all the challenge “to be the first generation that leaves these isles in better shape than we inherited them”. He was talking about the British Isles in his recent “Wild Isles” series but of course, whether it’s in the UK or anywhere in the world, we should all be striving to improve our natural world in any way we can.
The decline in nature both in terms of natural habitats and species populations is now well documented and has come to the forefront of the media and political campaigns in recent years. It’s easy to feel hopeless when we hear another statistic of how bad things are. But I firmly believe there is also a lot of hope. So many people around the world are working to improve things, from conservationists and innovators, to schools and businesses. I strive to be a part of the change for good, both in my personal life through making smarter decisions, and also through my work as an artist.
PRICKLES AND PAWS HEDGEHOG RESCUE
Prickles and Paws are a charity very dear to my heart. Each year they rescue more than a thousand poorly and injured hedgehogs, nurse them back to health and release them back into the wild. Some of the patients that come in are on death’s door, but with the help of the amazing staff at Prickles and Paws, they’re lovingly restored to full health.
I’ve seen firsthand the incredible work Prickles and Paws do day in day out. I was keen to use my wildlife art to help support the charity, and so in November 2023 I did a collaboration with Prickles and Paws. I created a hedgehog drawing featuring two of their little baby hedgehog patients (named Butter and Scotch!). I donated ten limited edition prints which we used for raffle prizes, generating £849 for the charity. Additional funds have also been raised from the sale of the original drawing and limited edition print sales. As of November 2023, my hedgehog art has raised a total of £952.
Limited edition prints of my hedgehog drawing are still available with 10% of the profits going to Prickles and Paws.
WILDLIFE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2022
In 2022 my orangutan painting “Hold Me Closer” was a finalist in the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition. Run by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, this annual event raises money to support conservation of endangered species across Asia and Africa. They work on the ground educating local communities, enforcing regulations, fighting wildlife crime, and creating safe spaces for animals in these areas to thrive. My orangutan painting raised £775 for this cause, and together with all the other participating artists we collectively raised over £85000.
PORFELL WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Porfell Wildlife Park is a local wildlife sanctuary which provides a safe haven for exotic animals who have fallen victim to the illegal pet trade. Across the world, many wild animals are captured and sold as exotic pets. These animals are not domesticated and are wholly unsuitable for life as pets. As a result, many issues arise, ultimately resulting in the animal suffering needlessly. Exotic wild animals are also sometimes bred with domestic animals to create new ‘rare species’ which the breeders try to sell to make huge amounts of money from. Again, this type of breeding results in animals which are both unsuitable as pets, and yet cannot survive in the wild.
Porfell Wildlife Park takes in animals who have fallen victim to this horrible industry. They provide the animals with a safe place to live out their days in peace. The sanctuary does not take part in any breeding programs - their mission is simply to care for animals which have nowhere else to go. They provide a home, food and medical care, and also educate the public to raise awareness of this illegal industry.
During the Covid lockdowns of 2020, Porfell Wildlife Park was in dire straits. They rely heavily on visitor admission fees for their income and with the covid lockdowns in place this income dried up. They put a call out for help from the public so that they could continue to care for all their animals during the pandemic. I was fortunate enough to be able to donate £100 to this cause through my wildlife art. Thanks to the generosity of the public the park was able to keep going during those difficult times, and continues to care for many more animals in need today.
REGULAR CHARITY DONATIONS
I am also a member of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and The Woodland Trust and am proud to support the conservation work they do across the UK.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust works hard to protect the natural habitats and wildlife around my home county Cornwall, whilst generating new habitats where wildlife can thrive. They’ve been instrumental in calling for an end to sewage pollution which adversely affects our marine life. Being a huge ocean lover (see my seascape art prints) I feel really passionate about protecting out marine environments and waterways. Healthy oceans are a really vital part of our fight against climate change. Plus, more and more people are discovering how spending time in the water can be hugely beneficial to our mental health! I feel it’s really important to get behind charities who are fighting to end sewage pollution and restore our oceans to species rich environments teaming with life.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust are also proud supporters of the Cornwall Beaver Project, a program centred around the reintroduction of Beavers here in the South West. I was lucky enough to visit the Cornwall Beaver Project in person and was astounded to learn the huge variety of ways in which beavers have benefitted the local landscape; from capturing carbon, preventing flooding, increasing biodiversity and improving water quality. Beavers had previously been extinct in the UK for 400 years, so seeing them in person was a moment I’ll never forget!
The Woodland Trust is Britain’s largest woodland conservation charity. They purchase woodlands throughout the United Kingdom, to ensure their protection from development. They then manage the woodlands in responsible and sustainable ways. They ensure local wildlife can thrive, and local people can enjoy these magical natural spaces and benefit from the enormous sense of wellbeing they bring. The Woodland Trust is continually fighting for legal protection for our wooded areas, and our most ancient trees, and does a fantastic job at educating people on just how important our woodlands are in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. But as well as protecting existing woodlands, they’re also on a mission to create many more wooded areas across the UK. Since the Charity was founded in 1972, they’ve planted 55 million trees.
WORKING TOGETHER TO INSPIRE CHANGE
I’m really proud to be able to support the valuable work all these charities do through my wildlife art and seascapes. I believe that art has the power to not only capture the beauty of nature but also to inspire positive change. By supporting these organizations and charities, I hope to contribute to the collective effort of leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come. Together, let us strive to be stewards of our planet, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for all living beings.