Meet Wildlife Jewels, The Conservation Focused Nonprofit Combining Arts, Technology & Action

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Can you imagine a world without wildlife? What would a world without chirping birds and colorful insects look like? Each passing day sees this nightmare becoming a reality in Orange County, California, and across the globe. The main culprit? Human activities – from habitat destruction to pollution. From the haunting shores of Corona Del Mar to the sunlit stretches of Solana Beach, there’s an immediate need for champions to rise. Wildlife Jewels™ is answering this call and doing its part to change the conservation trajectory.

Oceans Gems” Gown designed by Azi Sharif for ©Wildlife Jewels® | Troy Michael Photography

Founded in the heart of California, this registered nonprofit isn’t just another organization on a mission. Its core beats to the heartbeat of its founder and executive director, Azi Sharif. An artist, a scientist, and above all, an ardent protector of wildlife, Azi has been a conservation champion for 20+ years now. The journey began in 2003 with a stunning painting, “The ‘Bird of Paradise,” which laid the foundation for the Wildlife Jewels® Collection.

A Juvenile Western Gull at Crystal Cove State Park | Photo by Azi Sharif ©Wildlife Jewels®

Azi’s commitment to the cause only deepened over time. As her artistic endeavors expanded, so did her academic pursuits. Diving into the mesmerizing world of bio-inspired robotics, she explored natural phenomena and nature’s intricate behaviors. However, she wasn’t just interested in acquiring knowledge; she wanted a tangible solution which she achieved by melding the worlds of fine arts, fashion, and science.

The vision came to life in 2014, when the Wildlife Jewels Collection emerged, elegantly blending art and advocacy. From fashion shows to art exhibitions to presentations, Azi and her team did everything in their power to not only showcase the majestic beauty of wildlife but also shed light on the pressing threats they face. An artist at heart, Azi knew that when art speaks, most people listen. The Wildlife Jewels Collection has been speaking for the voiceless wildlife since 2015 when it debuted in a Laguna Beach gallery. The collection items have made appearances in numerous distinctive fashion shows throughout the United States, including a notable showcase at Harvard University.

Pelicans at Little Corona del Mar beach | Photo by Azi Sharif ©Wildlife Jewels®

2023 has been a remarkable year for the Wildlife Jewels™ Collection. Earlier this year, the team made significant headway when they launched the Wildlife Jewels™ nonprofit organization whose mandate goes beyond just creating awareness to taking tangible action. With offices at Corona Del Mar and Solana Beach, the nonprofit’s mission is “to protect wildlife from threats driven by human activities, to inspire individuals to value living wildlife, and to empower them to take impactful actions to save wildlife.”

“We aim to weave together the realms of arts, sciences, technology, education, and collaborations with global conservation leaders and policy makers,” the team explains. “Our organization stands as a dedicated guardian, tirelessly working to protect and preserve these precious wildlife inspirations from extinction. “The team achieves that through a holistic approach. For them, it’s not just about conserving but also educating, enlightening, and empowering. Their programs, whether it’s the Conservation initiative or the Arts and Education and outreach, are finely tuned to address the multifaceted issues that our wildlife faces. Whether it’s the heart-wrenching scale of wildlife crime or the urgent need for wildlife rescue, Wildlife Jewels is on the front lines.

Common Terns at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve | Photo by Azi Sharif ©Wildlife Jewels®

“We dream of a world where wildlife thrives untouched by human activities, roaming freely in their natural habitats,” Azi Sharif explains. “In this world, every person recognizes the magnificent beauty and value of living wildlife, and takes significant action to ensure safety and protection of wildlife.” Her desire is for everyone to join hands, ensuring the beauty of wildlife lasts for generations to come.

Members of the Newport Beach Magazine were not involved in the creation of this content.

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