The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Rescue, in affiliation with photographer Corey Rubin, put on an exhibit dedicated to Molly Adams, bird watching enthusiast and founder of the Feminist Bird Club, on Saturday, July 8.
Adams decided last October to start the group after hearing about the murder of Katrina Vetrano in Howard Beach, which is very close to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Rescue. She stated, “No woman should have to worry about that while birding around here (Howard Beach) so I decided that a group would be better.”
The pictures in the showcase were taken by Corey Rubin, a photographer, artist and bird watcher who has done quite a bit of his work inside the rescue and the other Gateway National Parks. Rubin stated in an interview, “The photos took me about a year to shoot. Most of them were taken in the Jamaica Bay Rescue, but some are from other gateway parks.”
Molly Adams had broached the topic of starting a bird club last year with some of her friends, and they had shown interest in the idea of birding together. Since then, it has taken off, with around 100 members involved and subscribed to their email list. After having patches made and sharing them on Instagram, the club began to rise in popularity. They donated the proceeds from the patches to the Planned Parenthood organization. Thanks to Molly and her initiative, the birding community has gained strength and the wildlife rescue has seen more visitors. She said, “I feel so loved to see such an amazing exhibit dedicated to me.”
Rubin’s oil paintings were impressively just as realistic as their photo counterparts on display next to them. “The paintings took four months, each with 10 to 15 layers of paint and etching into the canvases between certain layers,” he said. The photos and paintings in this showcase were dedicated to Molly Adams and her efforts within New York’s birding society. Rubin stated, “We owe so much to Molly, and this exhibit is dedicated to her because of what she’s done for the community.”
People buzzed around the gallery excitedly, admiring the pictures and paintings of the “Chance Encounters, to Molly” tribute. The dichotomy between parkgoers and birders was clear, as the bird watchers discussed in hushed tones the different species being displayed.
As birders and lovers of wildlife, both Adams and Rubin consider themselves conservationists. They do whatever they can to help the environment and the wildlife that surrounds them. They are concerned about New York’s usage of plastic and its effects on local species. Rubin stated, “Plastic in the water is probably the biggest problem. Solving that would also solve human health issues too, so it’s in our best interest.”
Adams hopes to continue growing the Feminist Bird Club in the future and states that she has been hearing from interested people all over the country about joining. She intends to hold a bird-a-thon in October to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
One day, Adams would like to visit Cuba because of its avian biodiversity and culture. Rubin would like to continue his photography and travel to shoot more species. For now, they are focused on birding at home in New York and extending their work within the city and Jamaica Bay.