Parents, teachers and scout leaders tell your kids to start the drawing engines and participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 17.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous conservation organizations will observe Endangered Species Day to recognize conservation efforts underway across the nation aimed at helping America’s imperiled species. This year also commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.
Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation’s rarest plant and animal species. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Young artists who are home schooled and participate in youth groups are also eligible to submit their art. Previous winners have come from California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Louisiana and as far away as Alaska. Entries must be postmarked by March 15.
This year, the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest finalists will be judged by a prestigious panel of artists, photographers and conservationists, including Wyland, renowned marine life artist; Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild; David Littschwager, a freelance photographer and regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine; Susan Middletown, a photographer who has collaborated with Littschwager and whose own work has been published in four books; and Alice Tangerini, botanical illustrator for the Smithsonian Institution.
The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) will select the 40 semifinalists from thousands of entries. It takes empathy, direct action and awareness to prevent the extinction of endangered species. Art can certainly play an important role. The Youth Art Contest is an ideal platform to engage the next generation.
Winners will be chosen in four categories: K-Grade 2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12, and will receive plaques and art supply gift packs. In addition, one grand prize winner will be honored with their name engraved on a special trophy and receive a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C. with one guardian to attend a reception in May. The grand prize winner will also receive art supplies and a special art lesson (via Skype) from Wyland, the artist.
The Youth Art Contest is organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Child Art Foundation. For more information, including judging criteria and an entry form, visit http://www.endangeredspeciesday.org/.
Many of the Service’s field and regional offices will be hosting events in their communities and providing unique programs to visitors on endangered species conservation in celebration of Endangered Species Day. For more information on how you can find an event near you, please visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ESDay/index.html.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ where you can download podcasts and find links to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.