Art of Conservation - Blank Park Zoo

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Art of Conservation (AoC) is a non-profit organization that was established by Des Moines native Julie Ghrist. AoC provides conservation and health education programs for children attending primary schools in rural communities bordering Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

AoC’ conservation lessons focus on the importance of protecting the environment and wildlife, with a special emphasis on the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Lessons on staying healthy address the possibility of disease transmission between people and mountain gorillas living side-by-side at the national park.  Every AoC lesson ends with a conservation or health-themed art project. The projects introduce students to different forms of artistic expression, such as drawing and painting, among other hands-on activities, to nurture creativity and strengthen understanding of concepts in conservation and health.

If you would like to make a donation to Art of Conservation, go to the Wet Paint website and your contribution will be matched.

Wet Paint, an art supply store, has generously offered to match all art supply donations dollar-for-dollar from AoC's wish list on their website. Donate art supplies now and see your generosity doubled!

To learn more about Art of Conservation, please Click Here or visit



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