College Announces
Research Fellowship Recipients
Jefferson Elementary-Muhlenberg College Partnership Receives $10,000 Community and Economic
Development Grant
Ninth President of Muhlenberg College, Jonathan Messerli, Passes Away
Alumni with children
ages 13 and under
Glass Slipper Project
Benefits Area Teens
Birds of Armenia Fly into Martin Art Gallery
Mourning John A. Deitrich:
Alumnus, Donor and Life Member
of the Board of Trustees
Getting to Know “General Pete”
Reaction to the New Life Sports Center
The Kresge Challenge is in reach!
Class of 1970 Reunion Challenge
Two Special Naming Opportunities for the Kresge Challenge

Birds of Armenia Fly
into Martin Art Gallery

This fall, the Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College hosted Birds of Armenia, an exhibit that featured more than two dozen full-color illustrations from the publication “A Field Guide to the Birds of Armenia,” as well as offering avifauna sketching sessions in a simulated bird blind installed near the Gallery.

“A Field Guide to the Birds of Armenia” was an integral part of the Birds of Armenia Project, an international effort to promote conservation awareness in Armenia after the fall of the Soviet Union. It was written by Dr. Martin S. Adamian, Armenian National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Daniel Klem, Jr., Sarkis Acopian Professor of Ornithology & Conservation Biology at Muhlenberg College. They headed a technically skilled team of field, museum and editorial contributors from Armenia, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The multi-disciplinary exhibition on display at the College was a celebration of an international artistic and scientific collaboration that has strong historical roots from, and great future importance for, the people of Armenia.

Robert Gillmor, Jan Wilczur, Chris Rose, Norman Arlott, John Davis and John Cox were among a dozen of Europe’s most respected bird illustrators chosen to create the artwork for this field guide. Collectively, they made hundreds of gouache and watercolor renderings that were consolidated and printed into 61 color plates that appear in the guide. This comprehensive publication was the result of four years of intense field, museum and literature research and depicts all species of birds currently known to occur in Armenia.

Interestingly, bird illustrations play a long-standing role in Armenian art with a legacy of richly painted miniature birds on illuminated medieval manuscripts. Masters of Armenian bird miniatures showed extremely thorough knowledge of birds. So knowledgeable, in fact, that they developed bird forms into intricately shaped letters of the Armenian alphabet. The volumes of medieval manuscripts that depicted birds were a powerful stimulus to the development of the arts in Armenia through the 16th century.

The driving force behind the Birds of Armenia Project was Sarkis Acopian. He is a local industrial engineer, founder of Acopian Technical Company, with a special interest in conservation. He was born in Tabriz, Iran. In 1945, he arrived in America, and after serving in the U. S. Air Corps, he earned an engineering degree from Lafayette College and settled in the Lehigh Valley.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Acopian felt that the Republic of Armenia, a country about the size of the state of Maryland, needed to have accurate information about the importance of environmental conservation. Abundant natural resources were being drained and the environmental health of the country was deteriorating. It is widely documented that birds have a long-standing track record of forecasting environmental changes in Western countries, and so Acopian felt that compiling a survey of Armenian birds would be a valid and useful conservation tool.

Throughout much of the 1990s, work on the project proceeded, often overcoming tremendous logistical and technical obstacles. Finally, in 1997, “A Field Guide to the Birds of Armenia” was published by the American University of Armenia, an affiliate of the University of California. The guide is considered to be a major contribution and reference to the international birding world, and is praised for promoting awareness of the rich wildlife this small Republic possesses, as well as making Armenia’s birds accessible to everyone.

A visitor to the gallery stops by the bird blind, an exhibit
which simulates actual bird-watching conditions.

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