Thursday, September 4, 2014

The bowerbird exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum has now ended its' one year viewing.

News from West Papua has been sparse but a recent contact with Hungku by an ornithologist gives a glowing report. No trees have been cut and no birds have been disturbed or eaten. Sadly, only two of the twenty children's books have reached the mountains. The books did sell well at the Peabody Museum gift shop and it has been given a new cover and republished. I will take twenty more with me when I speak in Djakarta at the Indonesian Heritage Society, October 29th.

The PowerPoint talks will be revised with less emphasis on biology and more on technique of conservation. Their brochure reads as follows:
"Artist Mary Jo McConnell has been making annual trips since 1992 from her home in Massachusetts to the Arfak Mountains of West Papua for one purpose - to paint the creations of the Vogelkop bowerbirds in their natural habitat. Her keen observations recorded the bower birds' creative behaviors using endemic materials. The local people of
Hungku village were only two generations removed from cannibalism, and tribesmen were inquisitive about Mary Jo's intentions. However, her brushes canvases and paint proved no threat to them and friendships grew. These annual visits spawned the idea of a bird saving a people who would in turn honor their environment."