From left, NRDC Forces of Nature honorees Shelly Malkin ’86, Anthony Malkin, and Sheryl Crow. (Photo by Anthony Clark/NRDC).

April has been a rewarding month for artist and conservationist Shelly Malkin ’86. A new exhibit of her African wildlife paintings, inspired by a 2007 trip to Kenya, opened at Kiernan Hall and Nature Art Gallery in her hometown of Greenwich, Conn., earning positive reviews. The New York Times said that Malkin's paintings "speak to the simplicity of animal life," and The Danbury News Times said her "use of soft, bright colors, along with her intimate perspective, instill a sense of unrestrained majesty."

Malkin also was honored with the prestigious Forces of Nature award from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an organization she serves as a trustee.

The other two award recipients this year were the singer and activist Sheryl Crow and Malkin's husband, Anthony, the president of Malkin Holdings, whose recent projects include a $500 million retrofit to improve energy efficiency at the Empire State Building. (Green lights illuminated the Empire State Building April 15, in honor of the NRDC's Forces of Nature benefit, held at nearby Chelsea Piers.)

Malkin is an avid rock climber and skier, and her art reflects her perceptions of the natural world, particularly from her experiences in Africa. "To be in these vast undeveloped spaces is extraordinary," she told The New York Times. "To see the changing light. To see the animals giving birth in the field -- it happens so naturally. It makes you think about the contrast of how animals live their lives and how people live theirs."

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