- Issue: Winter 2013
Diane Monet grew up "loving everything that breathed." She developed a passion for animals at a young age, and became a WWF member in 1995. She has further comitted herself to conserving animals by joining WWF's Legacy Circle, a group of people who want to make a lasting impact on saving the world's most threatened species by including WWF in their estate plans. An artist, Monet also channels her commitment creatively, through paintings that sometimes feature big cats.
What species in particular draws you in?
Big cats are my favorite part of the wild. I went to a cheetah preserve in South Africa to pho- tograph and study the animal so I could do paintings of them. I love their beauty, their grace, their strength. They also make me laugh—their expressions are kind of quizzical when they look at you.
They just take my breath away. It’s kind of like when you ask someone, “Why are you in love with this person?” You can’t really put it into words. It’s a feeling; it’s chemistry. I guess that’s what it’s like with cats and me.
What’s your outlook on the future of nature and wildlife?
I think as long as people focus and pay attention to organizations like WWF, and children are educated about the value of these animals, there is hope. Education and publicity are key—we need to build awareness so that people understand how valuable these creatures are and how valuable nature is.
We don’t find peace among buildings. It’s out in nature. We need to preserve as much as we can because that’s where you find serenity. Animals are wonderful to watch. They’re wonderful to study. It’s just a feel-good connection I think we all innately have.
How does WWF connect you to the world?
This is a community I want to be involved in. If there’s any way I can get involved—whatever I can do—my heart is there. I can see how much of the funding actually goes to conservation, and how little goes to administration. I find that work so admirable: giving voice to the voiceless creatures of the world that are in need of help. I will do everything I can to promote WWF’s cause.