Conserving Nature with Brushstrokes
By: Kyle Grammatica
Based in Florida, Gail Powell is self-taught artist and cartoonist that uses her art to bring attention to the alarming amount of endangered species in the world. She started drawing cartoons when she was in elementary school and based the style of them on Looney Tunes and Disney characters. While in college, she created the “Ratskii’s” characters that would later be used in her published cartoons. She also designed a greeting card line and children’s books. In 2001 she moved to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida and fell in love with the stunning beauty of Florida’s wildlife. She would spend hours at the beach photographing and researching shore birds and marine life, while also studying bald eagles, bobcats, and other animals in the wooded areas near her home.
Powell’s love of nature and her desire to prevent the mass extinction of wildlife inspired her to use art to promote conservation. She created a cartoon series called “Saving Wild Critters” in her local newspaper using the Ratskii’s. The cartoon explained the state of different endangered species. Powell now lives in South Florida and is focusing her conservation work on the Florida panther. She sells t-shirts and prints on her website and donates the proceeds to the Foundation to help protect the Florida panther.
There are only 120-230 Florida panthers left in the wild and with the threat of increased housing development, critical parts of their habit may be lost. There is also an unknown disorder currently affecting Florida panthers and bobcats that causes leg weakness and an overall deterioration of health. Panthers are an umbrella species whose conservation supports many other at-risk species as well. Please support Gail Powell’s work or donate to our Florida Panther Fund to help this amazing animal.