AGOG presents Donna Mendes & Rachel Darvill “At-Risk Birds and their Columbia Wetlands Habitat”

AGOG is proud to present a Mother & Daughter Exhibit featuring the paintings of Donna Mendes and the photography of Rachel Darvill.

Tragically, Donna passed away on September 26, 2020 of breast cancer while living in Golden. Her last series of paintings entitled “At-Risk Birds and their Columbia Wetlands Habitat” was inspired through her interest in bird watching and her volunteer work with her daughter Rachel as part of the recent Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey and the Columbia Valley Swallow Project. The passion Donna had for birds and the environment proved to be the catalyst that launched this new painting focus.

Rachel Darvill has had a passion for biodiversity conservation and taking photographs in nature since she was a little girl and to this day remains an avid photographer of wildlife and wild landscapes. Rachel currently works on habitat enhancement projects for at-risk species and lives with her family in Parson, BC … the Columbia Wetlands just a few steps from their back door.

Due to Covid restrictions, we won’t be able to host a reception. But, please do make a plan to visit AGOG over the next month and come enjoy!

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Donna Mendes – the artist

Donna studied painting and Art History through a number of diverse venues both in Canada and abroad. She attended the University of Calgary, University of Oregon, and studied with the Bottega del Rinascincento in Rome and Umbria, Italy. Her travels in France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Africa, Asia, Central America and the Arizona desert inspired her work. Donna had also served as a director of the White Rock Museum and Archives in White Rock, BC from 2013-2015. Her many duties included Children’s Art Exhibitions and Museum Archive Exhibitions plus seasonal displays in the Museum.

The inspiration for her painting technique reflects a strong influence of style and textures found in crumbling plaster, frescos, tarnished metals and time worn paints. These are the elements of the style that she incorporated in her decorative arts career in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia for over 25 years. The use of vibrant or faded colors and surreal ambiance reflect the elements of nature with an exotic and striking quality.

Before she passed away, Donna’s hope was that this collaboration with her daughter Rachel could bring attention to the diversity and importance to the conservation of the Columbia Wetlands habitat.

Rachel Darvill – the photographer

Rachel has been working as a professional biologist and environmental consultant since graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (Minor in Environmental Studies) from the University of Victoria, B.C. She completed her Master of Science degree in 2014.

Rachel is the principle consultant at Goldeneye Ecological Services and, given her work for several agencies such as Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada, multiple universities, Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners, and Wildsight, she has had extraordinary opportunities to study and help conserve the wildlife and ecosystems that she loves and photographs.

From working on remote seabird research programs on Triangle Island and Haida Gwaii, an elephant project in Tanzania, grizzly bear research in Alaska and Banff, to aquatic plant and waterbird projects in the Columbia Wetlands, Rachel has had ample opportunities to photograph the nature that she works to protect.

She currently works on habitat enhancement projects for at-risk species (swallows, turtles and more) and lives in Parson, BC with her family, where the Columbia Wetlands is their backyard. Recently, she developed and was the biologist for, the Columbia Wetlands Marsh Bird Monitoring Project and the Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey. Just last month, Rachel was selected as the first recipient of the Ellen Zimmerman Award.

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Upper Columbia Swallow Habitat Enhancement Project
Click the photo or click here to view the accompanying website created by Rachel Darvill. Click here to find out more about the Upper Columbia Swallow Habitat Enhancement Project. You can also contribute funds or purchase a beautiful art piece. Funds raised go towards building artificial nesting structures for at-risk barn swallows.