AAF is proud to support ACEER’s Conservation Fellows program by sponsoring two artists, Maisie McNeice and Elizabeth Swanson Andi.
Like AAF, The ACEER Foundation’s focus is preserving the Amazon. Their mission is to implement transformative, experiential learning that develops local and global environmental leaders who work to conserve and restore functioning landscapes in the Amazon Basin and beyond.
“ACEER’s Conservation Fellowship is an exciting and important program that really speaks to me because it provides a hands-on, multidisciplinary experience. Like Amazon Aid’s Artist for the Amazon, art is one of those disciplines through which the fellows can interpret and explain the rainforest, so it was a very natural alignment,” said Sarah duPont, Founder of Amazon Aid Foundation.
ACEER supports the next generation of Amazon Rainforest conservation leaders through our Conservation Fellowship. Fellows use their knowledge and passion to turn experiential learning and international exposure into opportunities to increase awareness, skills, and networks for conservation-related concerns. With hands-on field experience, fellows can dive deep into the work of learning about and preserving the Amazon and the people groups therein. Full Fellows mentor Emerging Fellows, creating opportunities for building lasting relationships and knowledge-share. Conservation Fellows’ work will be highlighted and disseminated through ACEER’s various media platforms. Together, the Conservation Fellows can share their skills and research to promote better understanding of different cultures and their environmental impact.
“The ACEER Foundation is thrilled to partner with Amazon Aid and we’re so grateful for their support of our new ARTivist Conservation Fellows. ACEER’s mission to develop local and global conservation leaders perfectly aligns with Amazon Aid’s mission to educate and activate global citizens to protect the Amazon. The massive environmental challenges we face today requires cooperation and collaboration across disciplines and cultures if we are going to save our planet,” said Jon Cox, ACEER Foundation president.
Elizabeth Swanson Aldi is from the Santu Urku Kichwa community on the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon and has witnessed the changes in her home. “One day candles became lightbulbs, our dirt paths became paved roads, and the forest stopped roaring like it used to. The chaotic silence around us with time gone,” she says. She has a background in science as well as art, merging both to help educate and create change. “As an Amazonian indigenous woman, conservation not only means survival of our forests but it also means survival of our people, our culture, our identity,” notes Swanson Aldi. “Conservation is taking care of what I love and giving back to the land and the people who shaped me.”
Maisie McNeice was raised in a lion research camp in Southern Africa. Art and science are uniquely merged in her work by creating pigments and inks from rocks, clays and plants, and incorporates organic structures, human artefacts, and animal track impressions in her installations. “I have spent much of my life in wild areas and I have witnessed first-hand the pressure that humans place on the environment,” relates McNeice. “To me, conservation is about finding culturally aware, regionally specific management solutions which ensure that those people who live in and alongside the natural world can benefit from its protection rather than its exploitation.”
We will highlight each of the ARTivists in the coming weeks. In the meantime, learn more about ACEER.