The Explorers Club CV

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For those of you who might find it of interest, this is the Exploration Resume that I submitted to the Explorers Club. You can also see the images that were submitted here:

What are your exploration interests?

My primary interest is the wildlife, landscapes and nomadic people of Mongolia. I am very interested in using art to support conservation in Mongolia. My most recent project to accomplish this was to lead the first WildArt Mongolia Expedition, a collaboration between American and Mongol artists, to the western Gobi of Mongolia in August/September of 2013. I have an on-going association with the Conservation Biology Department of the Denver Zoological Foundation, which allows me the use of their research camp at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. I was also the recipient of an Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition Grant in 2009.

Species that I have observed and painted include:
Argali sheep (Ovis ammon)
Siberian ibex (Capra siberica)
Eurasian black/cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Przewalski’s horse/takhi (Equus caballus przewalskii)
Siberian marmot (Marmota sibirica).

My continuing explorations are inspired by past travelers to the country like Henning Haslund, Owen Lattimore and especially Roy Chapman Andrews.

List honors, awards and special recognitions related to exploration.

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition Grant, 2009– “The Argali Mountain Sheep of Mongolia-An Artist’s Study of the Animal and the Desert Steppe”- traveled to three locations which have argali sheep and met for three days at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve with local herder women to support them in setting up a women’s felt craft collective.

California Art Club Juror’s Choice Award– “Wild Things”, 2007
Redwood Art Association Janie Walsh Memorial Painting Award– “51st Fall Juried Exhibition”, 2009
Palos Verdes Art Center– “The Spirit of the Horse”, 3rd Place Award

Acceptance into juried shows by the following organizations:
American Academy of Equine Art
Arts for the Parks
Bennington Center for the Arts
Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art
Morris Graves Museum of Art
Oakland Museum of California
Society of Animal Artists

“Tahki- The Wild Horse of Mongolia”- Humboldt State University Natural History Museum, 2007
I gave an illustrated talk to the general public, which included my experiences at two of the three locations in Mongolia where they have been reintroduced; an overview of the species which included its history, morphology, habitat, genetics, social behavior, reintroduction efforts, current locations of captive animals, reintroduction efforts in China, reintroduction efforts in Mongolia at Takhiin Tal, Hustai Nuruu, and Khomiin Tal; and the conservation challenges being faced.

“Mongolia, The Land of Blue Skies”– Kiwanis Club, McKinleyville, California, 2013; slide show for club members of Mongolia images, accompanied by descriptions of my travels, the people, land and animals.

4. Provide a bibliography of publications – books, articles and papers that you have authored – related to exploration.

Nature Guide No. 4, Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, ECO Nature Edition, Mongolia, 2011- description and explanation of “Ikh Nart Is Our Future”, a women’s felt craft collective
(see attached file)

Parrots of the Wild:  A Natural History of the World’s Most Endangered Birds.  Toft, C.A. and J.D. Gilardi, in press, possible publishing date in late 2013. University of California Press, Berkeley. http://www.eve.ucdavis.edu/catoft/.
I was commissioned by the late Dr. Catherine A. Toft, Emeritus Professor of Ecology, University of California, Davis to create a new image of Carolina Parakeets (Conureopsis carolinensis) for her upcoming book.
Explorer’s Club Fellow Stephen Quinn, Senior Project Manager for Exhibitions, American Museum of Natural History, arranged for me to visit the American Museum of Natural History’s Extinct and Endangered Species Room in the Ornithology Department to study, document, sketch and photograph skins and mounts of Carolina Parakeets (Conureopsis carolinensis) from which I created a scientifically and behaviorally accurate painting. (See attached file)

Wildlife Art Journal, April 2010– “A Letter From: Fieldwork in the Ancient Kingdom of Chinggis Khan”; Article about my 2009 Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition, illustrated with a slide show of 26 images of drawings from my Expedition journal, photographs from the Expedition and my paintings; Wildlife Art Journal is an online publication dedicated to wildlife art and the artists who create it and which supports conservation through its blog and editorials.

The Pet Connection, June 2010– “Cultural Baggage”; blog post commissioned by best-selling author and journalist Gina Spadafori (“Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual”, “Dogs for Dummies” “Your Cat: The Owner’s Manual”, etc.) to educate her readers about the assumptions travelers carry with them when traveling to other countries, the specific example being the attitudes Americans have about pet dogs vs. how dogs are used and treated in a country like Mongolia.

Horse Art Magazine, Spring 2007– “The Horses of Mongolia, Part 1: Khomiin Tal”
Account of my 2006 journey to remote Zavkhan Aimag in western Mongolia to visit the third, most recent takhi release site, located in a river valley called Khomiin Tal.

Horse Art Magazine, Summer 2007– “The Horses of Mongolia, Part 2: Hustai National Park” Account of my second visit to Hustai National Park, the second takhi release site, in 2006, which is located two hours west of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

Horse Art Magazine, Fall 2007– “The Horses of Mongolia, Part 3: The Horses that Conquered the World”
Account of the domestic Mongol horses, many of which have takhi blood; discusses the horse culture of the Mongols; the use and social behavior of domestic Mongol horses and their place in Mongol culture.

EXPLORATION RESUME
SUMMARY

In August/September 2013 I led the WildArt Mongolia Expedition to the western Gobi. It was a first-time ever collaboration by Mongol and American artists traveling and working together in the field to explore, observe and record through photographs, paintings and field sketches four endangered species and their habitats.

In 2009, I was the recipient of an Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition Grant for “The Argali Mountain Sheep of Mongolia; An Artist’s Study of the Animal and the Desert Steppe”.

I have participated in four Earthwatch Expeditions:
“Mongolian Argali”- Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve, Dornogobi Aimag, Mongolia
“Kenya’s Wild Heritage” Lake Naivasha, Kenya
“Roman Fort on Tyne” Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England
“Climate Change on the Arctic Edge” Churchill Northern Studies Centre, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

I currently travel yearly to Mongolia to explore the country and gather reference for my paintings and have been there eight times as of 2013.

Past fieldwork trips have included:
Safari in Kenya, October 2004- mobile safari to the Samburu, Lewa Downs Conservancy, Kigio Wildlife Conservancy, Soysambu Conservancy, Masai Mara for the purpose of observing and recording East African wildlife in its native habitat as reference for paintings and drawings. Led by the late Simon Combes, internationally known wildlife artist and conservationist.

The Sea of Cortez, March 2011- One of a group of 30 invited artists who traveled to San Carlos , Mexico, accompanied by Dr. Richard Brusca, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum; Senior Director, Research & Conservation.

Professional Fieldwork and Research in Mongolia:

1. The WildArt Mongolia Expedition 2013

Purpose/Mission:
The first WildArt Mongolia Expedition (inspired partly by Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions of the 1920s), was in the field for 19 days from August 23 to September 10, 2013. It was a first-time collaboration between American and Mongol artists. The mission was to explore three locations that are the habitats of four endangered species and use the visit of artists (who are highly valued and respected in Mongolia) and the art we will create to support their conservation:

1.The Gobi Altai Mountains: Snow Leopard (Pantera uncia)

2. Takhiin Tal in the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area of the Dzungarian Gobi: Takhi (Equus caballus przewalskii) and Khulan/Mongolian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus hemionus)

3. Sharga and Darvi Soums: Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica mongolica)

Results:

1.The Expedition was a first time collaboration between American and Mongol artists.
They artists carried out fieldwork together, observed wildlife and its habitats, kept journals and recorded the trip through paintings, sketches and photographs. This fieldwork, along with finished paintings will form the basis of a group art exhibition. There will be exhibition venues in both Ulaanbaatar and the United States. The exhibition will be permanently viewable online.
There will be a book, available as both an e-edition and hardbound that will serve as both the exhibition catalog and official record of the Expedition and which will include materials (journal entries, sketches, photographs, etc) generated during the journey.

2. We also observed and recorded a variety of bird species, including bar-headed geese (Anser indicus), greylag geese (Anser anser), eurasian spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia) great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), pied avocets (Recurvirostra avosetta), herring gull (Larus argentatus), ruddy shelducks (Tadoma ferruginea) and common shelducks (Tadoma tadorma) at a remote Gobi lake, Boon Tsagaan Nuur in Bayanhongor Aimag.

3. En route to the Dzungarian Gobi, we traveled south through a spectacular pass in the Gobi Altai Mountains in Erdene Soum which is home to snow leopards. We did see a small group of one of their prey species, Siberian ibex, and were able to photograph them, along with the habitat itself.

4. Also en route once again traveling west, we camped near and explored a very important sacred mountain, Eej Hairhan Uul, where we observed and photographed two Mongolia agama (Laudakia stoliczkana), one of the few species of lizards native to Mongolia, entered the mountain cave retreat of a Buddhist lama who took refuge there during the destruction of the monasteries in the late 1930s and saw a wide variety of rock formations that resemble various animals and other forms, many the focus of prayers and offerings by Mongols who associate them with various ailments.

5. At Takhiin Tal, we were hosted and given an excellent briefing on the Przewalski’s horse/takhi (Equus caballus przewalskii) reintroduction (which began in 1992) by the Director, Ouynsaikhan Ganbaatar. We saw and photographed four mares who had been air-shipped from the Prague Zoo to the reserve in July. along with the wild-born stallion who had been introduced into their acclimation enclosure. We also saw two wild takhi harems and a large herd, numbering well over one hundred, of Mongolian wild ass/khulan (Equus hemionus hemionus).

6. In Darvi Soum, we met with, were briefed by, and then led out on a saiga spotting drive by the World Wildlife Fund Saiga Ranger Network Coordinator Batsaikhan Baljinnayan and one of the local rangers, Th. Bugenbat. The previous day, we drove the length of the Sharga Nature Reserve, saw and photographed twenty or more critically endangered saiga antelope (saiga tatarica mongolica). In Darvi Soum the following day, we saw and photographed at least twenty more. According to Batsaikhan, the current saiga population is between 7,000 to 10,000, up from a low of 760. Loss of viability for the species had been estimated to be below 600 animals. The population drop from well over one million was due to poaching, which was largely stopped once the ranger program was implemented.

7. An important result of the Expedition is my realization of how critically important the use of rangers seems to be in Mongolia for the protection of both endangered species and places which have been set aside as Strictly Protected Areas, National Parks, Reserves or undesignated areas that local people feel need to be monitored. When local herder men were trained as rangers and paid to help protect Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve in Dornogobi Aimag/Dalanjargalan Soum both poaching and illegal mining effectively ceased. We were stopped by two men in uniforms when we came down out of the Gobi Altai Mountains onto an upland area. They turned out to be local rangers who were spending the night on a nearby hilltop to stop the poaching of Mongolian gazelle. Saiga antelope began their long recovery from near extinction once the WWF Saiga Ranger Network was up and running. On my next trip I am going to pursue this further; find out which protected places have rangers and which ones don’t; try to learn what, if anything, the appropriate government ministry and the major conservation NGOs are doing and try to learn if this approach is being or could be implemented nationally or at the aimag (state or province) level if the financial resources were available.

8. I and Sharon K. Schafer, the second American artist on the Expedition, are the first American artists to travel to these places and our paintings will be the first ever created of Takhiin Tal takhi and khulan, saiga antelope and the birds of Boon Tsagaan Nuur.

9. Sharon focused on doing field studies of the various plants we saw so that she will be able to accurately represent them in her paintings. I concentrated more on larger landscape features, but also did plant sketches, along with taking photographs. The Mongol artists, Tugsoyun Sodnom and Oidoviin Magvandorj, took photos and did acrylic and pastel paintings on location. The Mongol photographer, I. Odna, also kept a journal.

10. I kept a daily journal, took close to 3000 photographs and painted watercolors on location, all of which will form the basis of the finished paintings and drawings I will do for the group exhibition and the book.

2. “The Argali Mountain Sheep of Mongolia; An Artist’s Study of the Animal and the Desert Steppe”
Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition Grant
July 5-30, 2009

Objectives:

1. To explore three locations that have populations of argali (Ovis ammon) These were: Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve, Baga Gazriin Chuluu Nature Reserve and Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve. Ikh Nart and Baga Gazriin Chuluu are both a desert steppe environment of an elevated area with rock outcroppings. There were approximately 800 sheep at Ikh Nart. Baga Gazriin Chuluu has an estimated population of 100. Gun-Galuut is farther north and is a mountain steppe ecosystem, so it has very different terrain and vegetation. There were estimated to be 60-80 argali there.

2. To gather information about all three habitats to understand their differences and similarities and continue to increase my knowledge of argali through direct observation in the field.

3. To observe, sketch and photograph them in the field with the goal of recording natural behavior.

4. To use the resulting information for my paintings and drawings.

5. To participate in three days of meetings at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu with local herder women set up a felt craft collective with the goal of having them realize an income stream from visitors to the reserve who come to see the wildlife, thereby providing an incentive for the conservation of the reserve.

6. To produce an official Flag Expedition Journal which recorded the Expedition in both words and images. It is now viewable on the Artists for Conservation website. (see attached file for excerpts)

Sponsoring organizations:

Artists for Conservation
Denver Zoological Foundation Department of Conservation Biology (One of the grant requirements was to have an established conservation organization as Expedition sponsor.)

Results:

1. I took the only known photographs of an argali swimming a river, the Kherlen Gol at Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve. According to Dr. Richard Reading it was known that argali would do so, but since the only research being done on them is at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, where there are no streams or rivers, there had been no opportunities to document it. Copies of the photos were sent to Dr. Reading for the Conservation Biology Department’s records. (see attached file of photographs)

2. I explored two very different argali habitats: desert-steppe (Ikh Nartiin Chuluu and Baga Gazriin Chuluu) and mountain steppe (Gun-Galuut).

3. I was able to observe and photograph argali at all three locations and note the differences in habitat.

4. Three days of highly successful meetings were held with the herder women at the Ikh Nartiin Chuluu research camp, resulting in the launch of their collective, Ikh Nart Is Our Future (see below for update).

5. A hand-written and illustrated Expedition Journal was produced (see attached file). The journal is now in the possession of Artists for Conservation as per the grant contract. It is viewable online at their website.

6. I took over 3300 photographs. All photographs were copied and sent to Artists for Conservation as per the grant contract.

7. I blogged the Expedition while it was in progress when I had access to an internet connection. My posts are available on the Artists for Conservation website and on my own blog.

8. The photographs and information I gathered has been used to create scientifically accurate paintings of the wildlife I saw, which includes argali, Siberian ibex and endangered white-naped cranes.

9. I formed an on-going working relationship with the Conservation Biology Department of the Denver Zoological Foundation and now meet every year with the Director of Ikh Nart Is Our Future, Ouynbolor, to formulate a work plan for the following year.

3. “Mongolian Argali” (Ovis ammon), Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve, Dornogobi
April 19-May 3, 2005

Objectives:
To participate in field research which was, and is, being carried out to gain basic knowledge of the argali’s taxonomy, ecology and population dynamics. Although it is the largest mountain sheep in the world, no previous research had been done prior to the establishment of the research camp in 1996. Listed by the IUCN as Threatened.

Sponsoring Institutions:
1. The Earthwatch Institute

2. Denver Zoological Foundation:
Principal Investigator: Richard P. Reading, PhD. Vice President of Conservation, Denver Zoological Foundation
Principal Investigator: Ganchimeg Wingard, M.S., Research Associate, Denver Zoological Foundation
Co-Principal Investigator: Sukhiin Amgalanbaatar, Research Biologist, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, President, Argali Wildlife Research Center

Specific Role:

1. Assisted in radio telemetry spotting and tracking of argali (Ovis ammon) and Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica)

2. Assisted in setting out 100 traps on a 100×100’ grid for small mammal study

3. Tasked with collecting data via direct behavioral observations of argali, including time budgets (see attached file)

4. Assisted in first-time transect population survey of argali; walking 4km in a straight line with Dr. Reading, recording time, species, group number and type, bearing and distance.

Results:
1. My direct behavioral observations contributed to the database which has established baseline information about the species.

2. I documented through photographs that argali, ibex and domestic livestock use the same food and water resources, supporting the field research that the scientists were doing.

3. Research by the Denver Zoological Foundation been used to create the Ikh Nart Natural Resource Area Management Plan. I am one of four Americans on the Advisory Council.

4. I took over 2600 photographs. Photographs that I took of argali, ibex and domestic cattle grazing in close proximity have been provided to Sukhiin Amgalanbaatar and are being used by him in discussions regarding land use in the reserve by local herders.

5. The field research skills and concepts that I learned have informed and influenced all my fieldwork since, particularly in the observation of wildlife and the interpretation of its behavior.

4. Khomiin Tal, Khar Us Nur, the Gobi, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, Hustai Nuruu
September 16-October 11, 2006
(see attached photographs)

Objectives:
1. To explore and record through a journal, photographs and field sketches a variety of Mongolian wildlife and habitats.

2. To visit the third and most recent (2004) takhi (Equus caballus przewalskii) reintroduction site, Khomiin Tal, in western Mongolia.

3. To visit an important lake/wetland complex and national park, Khar Us Nuur.

3. To explore the Gobi, including Gobi Gurvansakhan National Park and Bayanzag, where the Flaming Cliffs are located and where Explorer’s Club Fellow Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions found the first fossil dinosaur eggs. To see the sun go down over the Flaming Cliffs .

4. To observe and photograph argali (Ovis ammon) at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, building on my work there the previous year and seeing the animals in a different season (spring vs. late summer/fall).

5. To observe and photograph takhi at Hustai National Park, building on my visit there the previous year and seeing the animals in a different season (spring vs. late summer/fall).

Results:
1. I met Dr. Claudia Feh (Recipient of the Rolex Award for Enterprise) at the takhi release site she established in 2004 at Khomiin Tal, a remote river valley in Zavkhan Aimag, west central Mongolia. I was permitted to go out with one of the Mongol researchers, Munkhtuya, who is now the scientist in charge, and observe, photograph and learn the history of this takhi reintroduction project.

2. As I am, to my knowledge, the only artist (and one of few photographers) who has been to Khomiin Tal, my paintings of Khomiin Tal and the takhi there are one of the few ways which the public can be made aware of this important contribution to the survival of a charismatic endangered species.

3. At Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, I hiked a famous canyon, Yolyn Am, during which I observed Siberian ibex and lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) and explored the ruins of an old monastery, which was destroyed during the Stalinist period of Mongol history in the late 1930s.

4. At Bayanzag, I explored one area of the Flaming Cliffs and also a saxaul forest, a species of xeric tree which has wood so dense that a branch will sink when placed in water.

5. At Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, I worked with Sukhiin Amgalanbaatar to successfully locat argali and ibex via radio telemetry.

6. At Hustai National Park, I observed many takhi, taking photographs and making notes in my journal.

7. I took over 3400 photographs, which I use for my paintings and drawings and also used to illustrate my slide show presentation about takhi.

5. Baga Gazriin Chuluu, the Gobi, Hangai Mountains; Hustai Nuruu; Ikh Nartiin Chuluu
July 7-August 20, 2010
(see attached photographs)

Objectives:

1. To observe, photograph and sketch both Mongolian wildlife and the nomadic herders.

2. To explore four of the six eco-systems of Mongolia: mountain forest (Hangai Mountains), mountain steppe (Hustai Nuruu), desert steppe (Ikh Nartiin Chuluu) and desert (the Gobi)

3. To travel to Ikh Nartiin Chuluu for my annual meeting with the Director of Ikh Nart Is Our Future.

Results:

1. I camped at Orog Nuur, a remote lake in the Gobi (desert ecosystem) which was visited by Roy Chapman Andrews during his 1925 Central Asiatic Expedition (“The New Conquest of Asia: a narrative of the explorations of the Central Asiatic Expeditions in Mongolia and China 1921-1930”), observed and photographed the lake and its birdlife and also also Ikh Bogd Uul, also described by Andrews.

2. I visited and photographed Ongii Khiid, a large monastery complex in the Gobi, which was destroyed during the Stalinist era of the 1930s.

3. I visited and photographed Ganchen Lama Khiid, of which only the gate and main temple survived being destroyed during the Stalinist era of the 1930s, and participated in the preparation of a ritual for installing and blessing two new statues by wrapping a small, rolled-up Buddhist sutra in thread for placement inside one of the statues.

4. I visited and photographed Tuvkhun Khiid, a monastery retreat in the Hangai Mountains (mountain forest ecosystem), founded by Zanabazar (1635-1723), a descendant of Chinggis Khan, an Incarnate Lama, the greatest artist Mongolia has produced (he has been called the “Michelangelo of Asia) and creator of the Soyombo writing script. He was the first Jebsundamba Khutuktu (Bogdo Khan) or theocratic ruler of Mongolia.

5. I explored Har Balgas, the ruins of an ancient Uigher city (8th century CE), located near the northeast corner of the Hangai Mountains, and spoke with one of the team of archaeologists who were currently working at the site. We discussed how artifacts lose their value when taken out of context. He observed that in cities like Rome everything is underground with the city on top, which provides protection, but that in Mongolia a lot is exposed, like the roof tiles scattered about the site, and easy for anyone to pick up. A Russian archaeologist had dug some trenches in the 1940s, but having not done any documentation, no one knows what found or how it fits into the site.

6. I returned to Hustai National Park (mountain steppe ecosystem) to continue my observations of takhi, taking photographs and journal notes. I observed “snaking” behavior by a harem stallion, in which they run flat and low to the ground while moving their mares (see attached file). The purpose, according to equine researcher Anne-Camille Souris (Association GOVIIN KHULAN), is to imitate the body language of a predator in order to make the mares move quickly.

7. I returned to Ikh Nartiin Chuluu (desert steppe ecosystem) for my annual meeting with the Director of Ikh Nart Is Our Future.

8. I accomplished very close observation of a group of argali rams which resulted in excellent reference material for paintings showing natural behaviors such as pre-rut testing between young and adult rams.

9. I took over 8500 photographs, recording all aspects of the trip.

6. Hustai Nuruu, Arburd Sands, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, Gun-Galuut, Han Hentii Mountains, North-central mountains
August 2-September 8, 2011
(see attached photographs)

Objectives:

1. To explore the northern mountains (mountain and mountain forest ecosystems) for the first time.

2. To continue to observe and photograph (and now shoot video) of Mongolian wildlife and the nomadic herders.

3. To travel to Ikh Nartiin Chuluu for my annual meeting with the Director of Ikh Nart Is Our Future

Results:

1. Observed, photographed and shot video of a takhi harem coming to a waterhole to drink at Hustai National Park, which has resulted in a painting which is currently in the Society of Animal Artists international juried show “Art and the Animal”.

2. Explored Baga Hairhan Uul and Zorgol Hairhan Uul, two mountains near Arburd Sands, a 20km long dune complex which forms one of the northernmost extensions of the Gobi. Observed Siberian ibex, cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus), black-eared kites (Milvus migrans).

3. Photographed a rare close encounter with a mature (10 years old as per Sukhiin Amgalanbaatar) Siberian ibex billy.

4. Photographed a Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), near the northern boundary of Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, the second-ever sighting of the species in this area. The sighting and resulting photographs were sent to Dr. Richard Reading of the Denver Zoological Foundation, who then forwarded them on to Mimi Kessler (PhD. Conservation Biology, Arizona State University) for use in her studies of bustards (Central Asian Great Bustard Project)

5. Multiple sightings and photographed endangered white-naped cranes (Grus vipeo) and whooper swans (Cygnus cygnus) at Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve.

6. I took over 6400 photographs, recording all aspects of the trip.

7. Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, Arburd Sands, Khan Khentii Mountains, Hustai Nuruu
July 31-September 25, 2012
self-sponsored

Objectives:

1. To focus on field sketching in my journal and shoot video.

2. To spend an extended period of time at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu (11 days), focusing on species other than argali.

3. To travel to Ikh Nartiin Chuluu for my annual meeting with the Director of Ikh Nart Is Our Future.

Results:

1. At Ikh Nartiin Chuluu I shot over 1000 photographs of Siberian ibex, recording a variety of groups and behaviors.

2. I worked with Dr. David Kenny (Conservation Veterinary Coordinator, Denver Zoological Foundation; Senior Veterinarian, retired) and two independent researchers to place video cams in cinereous vulture nests. I recorded both through photographs and video the return of a fledgling to its nest.

3. I attended a presentation by researchers at Ikh Nart on the various studies currently being carried out on argali, Siberian ibex, hedgehogs, small mammals, small carnivores, bats, cinereous vultures, lesser kestrels (Falco naumanni) and reptiles.

4. I obtained photographs and video of captive daurian (Mesechinus dauuricus) and long-eared hedgehogs (Hemiechinus auritus) for use as painting reference.

5. I explored an area of the Tuul Gol (Tuul River) valley in the Han Hentii Mountains called Jalman Meadows and had an extremely rare sighting of a grey wolf (Canis lupus).

6. At Hustai, I observed many takhi harems and recorded a variety of behaviors with photographs and video, including young stallions fighting and a harem stallion marking his territory. I also observed bokh, the native species of elk (Cervus elaphus) and photographed a rut encounter between two bulls.

7. I took over 8600 photographs of all aspects of the trip, along with video of Hustai takhi.

Overall results to date from all trips to Mongolia:

1. I have formed on-going working relationships with a number of scientists, researchers and naturalists, including:
Richard Reading PhD, Vice President of Conservation Biology, Denver Zoo
Gana Wingard MS, Mongolia Program Director, Denver Zoo
Sukhiin Amgalanbaatar MS, President, Argali Research Center, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Anne-Camille Souris, President, Association GOVIIN KHULAN (France)
Axel Braunlich, Conservation Biologist (Germany)
Colleen McCulloch, PhD candidate, argali researcher (UK, Scotland)

2. I have an on-going commitment to support Ikh Nart Is Our Future, the women’s felt craft collective, which is made up of herder women and their families who live in Dalanjargalan soum, where Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve is located. The collective has been in existence for over three years now. I have used my art skills to create felt embroidery designs as requested by collective members (see attached file of AFC Journal excerpts), designed and created a logo for the collective based on one of those designs and have provided photographs of argali, ibex and vultures for members to create designs from.

3. I have created paintings of Mongolia subjects (see attached file with photographs of paintings), including wildlife, that have been accepted into a variety of national and international juried shows including:
Art and the Animal, Society of Animal Artists, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Art and the Animal Kingdom, Bennington Center for the Arts, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011
Fall Juried Open Competition, American Academy of Equine Art, 2009, 2010, 2011
Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, 2011

4. I have available for my use and the use of the scientists and researchers I work with over 40,000 photographs taken over my seven trips.

5. I have been interviewed about my Mongolia trips and my work profiled by a number of publications including:
Wildlife Art Journal
UB Post
Epoch Times
Global Post
Times-Standard

Fieldwork/Research In Other Locations:

1. Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge
June 28-July 8, 2002
Earthwatch Expedition

The project was based at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, near Hudson Bay, Canada. The sponsoring institution was the University of Alberta, where the Principal Investigator, Dr. Peter Kershaw was an Associate Professor. The project is continuing as of this writing.

Objectives:
To evaluate carbon assimilation, storage and release to the atmosphere in forest versus tundra as part of an international effort to understand climate change. The results were to be used to fully develop the Study Centre’s climate change monitoring program.

Specific role:

1. Measured permafrost depth

2. Assisted in setting up micro-climate transects on tundra gravel areas for an experiment to see if increased moisture from the presence of snow fences increased plant germination, providing valuable data for tundra habitat restoration

3. Helped check the readings of various kinds of monitoring equipment

4. Worked with Principle Investigator Dr. Kershaw to set up a portable weather station in the black spruce bog forest
Results:

New data to aid researchers in understanding how quickly the permafrost was melting and how that was affecting other aspects of the ecosystem like vegetation.

2. Roman Fort on Tyne
Sept. 3-16, 2000
Earthwatch Expedition

This archaeology project was located at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields, England, not far from Newcastle-on-Tyne. The work was, and still is, being carried out by the Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum. The Roman fort dates back the 1st Century AD and was part of the Emperor Hadrian’s efforts to secure this distant border of the Roman Empire.

Objectives:

1. To understand the full sequence of human activity at the site and to improve the information given to the public.

2. To carry out excavations in the central area of the fort.

Specific Role:

1. After being trained in specific techniques of soil removal using trowels and brushes, I was tasked with excavating various areas of the site under the direction of the archaeologists

2. Took elevations and recorded readings for various parts of the site

3. Made accurate pen and ink drawings of various finds under the direction of staff artists

Results:

1. I helped find and uncover the stone foundation of the apse of a previously unknown building. along with a coin and other small artifacts

2. My drawings were used to illustrate an article in the peer-reviewed journal “Arbeia-the Archaeology of South Shields Fort”. (see attached file)

3. Kenya’s Wild Heritage
Jan. 20-Feb. 4, 1999
Earthwatch Expedition

The project was located at Lake Naivasha. The research was led by Principle Investigator Dr. David Harper, through the University of Leicester. The results of the research at the lake were directly used for the official Management Plan, along with topics for papers that were published in peer-reviewed journals.

Objectives:

1. Assist in studying the ecology of Lake Naivasha, a RAMSAR-designated wetland of international significance, research that had been on-going for twelve years

2. Gather data to aid scientists in understanding the effects of various pressures on the health of the lake, including introduced species and fertilizer run-off from flower farms located near the lakeshore

Specific Role:

1. Worked on an introduced Louisiana Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) population census, which included measuring, weighing and sexing each animal

2. Worked on an informal experiment set up by Dr. Harper, “The Crayfish Dining Preferences Survey” in which I helped weigh samples of different species of plant material both before and after they were provided to the crayfish

3. Worked on a ground beetle study, for the purpose of determining insect biodiversity, in which I helped collect paper cup traps from a variety of vegetation zones and then sorted through them in the lab to find any ground beetles present.

4. Worked on a census of the lake’s African Fish Eagles (Haliaeetus vocifer) population, using binoculars for visual sightings, GPS units to record the location of all adults, juveniles and forms to record data.

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