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If you’ve followed us for a while you’ll know that we are big fans of nature at Eggleston Galleries. Since our opening we have tried to convey that love through the art we convey and feature. But, we have decided to go further than that, and we’re excited to tell you how.

This last October, Grace and I had the opportunity to attend the Wildlife Conservation Network’s 2017 conference in San Francisco. The big reason we wanted to go was to see Dr. Jane Goodall speak; we didn’t quite know what to expect from the rest of the conference, but we were blown away! When we got there, we found that speaker after speaker had an inspiring story, and amazing insights from their own experiences in conservation. They all worked within their communities to find ways that the needs of people and animals can both be met. The sheer level of creativity and determination they brought to bear on their environment’s problems was impressive, and they were keenly aware of what makes their region tick. But what really struck us was how much they cared about the people living in these environments. They saw their work as more than just saving wildlife, it was meeting a human need. Their solutions almost always included introducing more jobs and education to the area, making it possible for the people to benefit immediately from taking care of the ecosystems around them.

As inspiring as each speaker was, and despite the successes being shared, the sheer number of problems was overwhelming. The whole thing began to feel a little hopeless. So much effort was being poured into these problems—and that was wonderful to hear! —but it left us thinking that there were many problems that would simply never be solved because of the effort required.

Goodall w chimp

And then Jane Goodall spoke. She did not provide a silver bullet for conservation, but she spoke directly to us about her hope for the world in the face of so many adversities. Listening to her was wonderful, and she told us exactly what we needed to hear. We left feeling that if she still has hope, we have no right to give up either. She inspired us to renew the gallery’s mission, to share our love of the natural world with our community using our art.

Since returning from San Francisco we have begun following conservation organizations local to Michigan, and have kept up with many of the amazing projects we learned about in San Francisco. We want to make part of our mission to support these groups as we are able, and so we will be doing two things. First, we are donating a portion of all Eggleston Gallery proceeds to wildlife conservation projects, which we will announce on a rotating basis. Second, we want to start highlighting different projects that we think are particularly awesome by sharing their stories with you.

Our hope is that these stories and projects will inspire you, as they did us, to redouble your efforts to care for our beautiful home in our backyards and around the world.

Check out these websites if you’re interested in learning more about the conference we attended or Jane Goodall.