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Kākā feeding upside down on kōwhai blossoms - because she can :)
Hi <<First Name>>

Zealandia lower lake and valley on a smokey dayHow do you keep hopeful about the future? I must admit to struggling some days. With the devastating Australian bushfires starting the New Year, climate change is no longer something to worry about in the future. It's here and now and has suddenly got very real (and just as predicted). It's hard not to get overwhelmed. The thing that has helped me the most in recent days is the amazing participants in this year's Art of Birding 2020 Wildlife & Nature photography challenge.

The first challenge of the year started with the concept of tūrangawaewae -  each participant showed us where they feel most connected to the natural world and what they hold dearest. From snow-covered Canada, to parched Australia, to lush NZ bush, and so many other special places. Follow along on our Facebook group or Instagram feed and see amazing heartfelt images from all around the world. My photo was of the Zealandia valley on what looks like a serene misty day - but no - that's smoke and haze from the bushfires over 2000km away.

Even if you're not doing the challenge, I encourage you to do is to use your social networks to show people who care about you what you care about in the world, what is precious, and why it's worth giving a damn. A multitude of positive ripples moves hearts and minds. And if you are intrigued by the challenge, it's not too late, just sign up and jump on in with the current week.

I'm excited to be collaborating with the Excio Photo Community to give participants the opportunity for wider exposure. Excio's motto is #PhotographyForGood, which is something I'm totally onboard with. Check out their blog on my favourite photos from the 2019 challenges

Do reply and let me know what helps keep you hopeful about the future - I'll compile everyone's suggestions to share in a future blog/newsletter.

Judi holding a kākā chick for leg banding

Kākā banding has ended for the season, with a total of 62 new recruits sporting a very fetching teal-coloured cohort band. By February we'll hopefully start seeing them out and about in the Zealandia valley and then throughout the city. (Photo by Linton Miller)

Tūī and kākā artworks hanging at NZAFA

NZAFA has extended their current exhibitions to 9 Feb. I had these two pieces accepted for exhibition and I also have a couple of wax encaustic pieces in the Cash & Carry exhibition. The gallery is at 1 Queens Wharf on Wellington's waterfront and is well worth a visit.

Art of Birding weekly banner
This week in the photo challenge we're going to new places to see what there is to see!  If you're thinking of joining in, the challenge suits all ages, abilities, and gear - all you need is a camera (a mobile phone camera is fine) and a love of wildlife and wildspaces. If you want your photography to start making a difference, sign up here.
Tauhou | waxeye | silvereye eating Coprosma berries
Tauhou are such an underrated little bird, but they fill the garden with song and do a fabulous job cleaning up all the aphids and scale insects. They also love coprosma berries! Andrew Underwood, an AoB photo challenge participant, has started a new Facebook group: the Silvereye Appreciation Group. If you love these little birds too, do take a look.
Singing hihi photo-art
"A little ray of sunshine (hihi)"
A new piece that will soon be heading south... (details to be announced)
Next time you're visiting Hamilton, do take a detour and visit The Mandarin Tree in nearby rural Gordonton. Gallery owner Claudia Aalderink has the most amazing artworks created with recycled beehives! (You can see a piece of one here in the top right). She's stocking lots of my prints and a great range of TinyArt pieces too.
Wishing you peace and joy for 2020. Did you make a New Year's resolution? Mine is to complete my own photo challenge this year - wish me luck! 😂
Archival prints available online:

Gallery Stockists in New Zealand:
Artel Gallery + Store - Ōtaki, Kāpiti Coast
Kotare Art Studio - Greytown, Wairarapa
Inspirit Gallery - Tamahere, Hamilton
The Mandarin Tree - Gordonton, Hamilton
Edges Art + Framing - Havelock North, Hawke's Bay
Make - the NZ Academy of Fine Arts Store - Wellington
Zealandia EcoSanctuary - Wellington
Copyright © 2020 Art by JLM, All rights reserved.

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