‘An Opportunity to Learn’: Youth Art Contest Aims To Teach About Wildlife

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service encourages students to participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest to celebrate the eighth annual Endangered Species Day on May 17.

“Endangered Species Day honors a national commitment to recovering endangered species and their habitats and provides an opportunity to learn about what efforts are being made to conserve them,” said Leith Edgar of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in California.

The Youth Art Contest gives students in grades K-12 a chance to learn about endangered and threatened species and then express their knowledge through art.

Entries will be judged by a panel of artists, conservationists, and photographers including Wyland, a renowned marine life artist; Jack hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild; David Littschwager, a freelance photographer and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine; photographer Middletown whose work has been published in four books; and Alice Tangerini, botanical illustrator for the Smithsonian Institution.

Winners will be chosen in four categories: kindergarten to second, third grade to fifth grade, sixth grade to eighth grade, and ninth grade to 12th grade. Winners from each category will receive plaques and art supplies and have their art displayed in an on-line gallery. In addition, one grand prize winner will receive a trophy and a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C. to attend a reception in May. The winner will also receive art supplies and an art lesson from artist Wyland.

“It’s incredible to see the talent of young people in kindergarten through 12th grades. Art teachers are doing a great job,” said David Robinson of the Endangered Species Coalition and the director of Endangered Species Day.

Endangered Species Day was started by Congress in 2006 to recognize efforts across the nation to help save imperiled species, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This year’s celebration will also commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act which protects thousands of endangered species and millions of acres of habitat.

“Endangered Species Day activities give children and adults an opportunity to learn the importance of protecting endangered species and to learn everyday activities that people can take to help protect our nation’s and remaining open space,” said Edgar.

Endangered Species Day activities take place in classrooms and public venues around the country including zoos, aquariums wildlife refuges, wetlands, schools and libraries.

In North Dakota, eight species of wildlife are on the endangered species list and one species of bird and one plant species are threatened. Some of the endangered bird species are native to South-Central North Dakota including the whooping crane, the Eskimo Curlew, and the least interior tern.

For more information about the art contest, including judging criteria and an entry form, visit www.endangeredspeciesday.org.
To learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Service’s endangered species program visit www.fws.gov/endangered/ESDay.