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Artists For Conservation Flag Expeditions Flag

Travel with Canadian artist David Kitler to the remote jungles of Panama's Darien Province to learn about the magnificent but endangered Harpy Eagle - the world's most powerful bird.
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David KitlerDavid N. Kitler   AFC, SAA David Kitler
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WNAG Flag Expedition Follow-Up: Delivery of Supplies
As you probably know by now, David had the honour of receiving the first-ever grant from the Worldwide Nature Artists Group (WNAG) Flag Expedition Program (www.natureartists.com/flagprogram). As a result, he and his wife spent the month of December 2005 in the jungles of Panama, observing and gathering reference material for the portrayal of the endangered Harpy Eagle and its habitat. The resulting artwork will be used to support conservation efforts to restore the Harpy Eagle to its historical ranges, while helping to educate the public on the key role this species plays in the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem.

What they had not really counted on was the social impact the Expedition would have...

David and Ly had been told of a potentially active nest (mother Harpy Eagle with a chick) located within a half-hour's hike of the Embera village of Llano Bonito (meaning beautiful plain) in Panama's Darien jungle, and ended up having the privilege of being the first ever "outsiders" to stay at that village. The Embera are one of seven native tribes that still inhabit Panama, and in a way are the "guardians" of the rainforest. They live in the same manner as their ancestors did for hundreds of years - in thatched-roof open-sided huts, making a living from subsistence farming (plantains, corn, rice, etc.), as well as hunting and fishing - and receive no government assistance. When asked about their needs, the only concern brought up related to their children, who they speak of as "their future." The Kitlers promised they would try to help.

Once they returned to Canada, the Kitlers started recounting their experiences in Panama, with the Harpy Eagle, and the natives. Within days of telling his students (David is also an art instructor), after the interviews on CBC Radio, and in response to their newsletter, donations of school supplies and baseball equipment started pouring in. David and Ly now have over 200 lbs of supplies that they will be personally delivering to the villagers of Llano Bonito. Mostly they wanted to ensure that the donations will get to those they were intended for, but they also wanted to document the reaction of the villagers to the concern shown by people from so far away.

David will be showing his work at an exhibition in South Carolina in early February and, from there David and Ly will drive to Atlanta to catch their flight to Panama, taking as much of the donations as they are allowed to carry as luggage. They are still trying to find someone who will donate cargo space for a couple of extra boxes, but if that cannot be arranged in time, they'll purchase the balance in Panama prior to traveling to the village.

For more information on this on-going project, contact the Kitlers at info@davidkitler.com. To read more about David's Expedition, or to view his field journal and photos, visit www.natureartists.com/flagexpeditions and follow the links.

 


 
 
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Canada T1S 5E9
Tel: 403-938-2726
  Worldwide Nature Artists Group
Email: info@davidkitler.com
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