Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

Participating in the 2014 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

We encourage teachers and their young artists in grades K-12 (as well as those in homeschools and youth groups) to participate in the 2014 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The contest provides students with an opportunity to learn about endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. All of the basic information you need to participate in the contest is included in the following sections:

Contest Background

Teacher/School Registration


Teacher’s Checklist

Subject Matter





Contest Sponsors



The Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest is an integral part of the 9th annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 16, 2014. Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation’s wildlife and wild places.  It recognizes the importance of endangered species and is an occasion to educate the public on how to protect them.

Last year, nearly 2,200 young artists from schools, homeschools, and youth activity and art programs throughout the country participated in the Saving Endangered Species Art Contest. The winners were chosen by a prestigious panel of judges, including artists, educators, photographers, and conservationists.

The 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.

Teachers can include the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest as a featured activity for Youth Art Month in March 2014.

Teacher/School Registration

To enable us to contact the contest semi-finalists and winners, we ask that you complete an online registration form.

Please complete all fields in the form. Once you submit this information, we will send you an e-mail including a form for you to print out, complete, and attach to each artwork that you are submitting. We require your contact information so that we can contact semi-finalists and winners through you. If you don’t receive our email within an hour, check your spam/junk mailbox.

When you receive the form, please:

1) Print one copy of the form for each artwork that you are submitting for the contest.

2) Fill in complete information for the artist and his/her artwork.

3) Tape the form to the back of the corresponding piece of artwork.

4) Write DO NOT BEND on the envelope to ensure safe delivery!


Students in kindergarten through high school (K-12) are eligible to enter the art contest.

Young artists who are homeschooled and members of youth groups are also eligible to submit their art.

In order to provide a competitive opportunity for as many youths as possible, the grand prize winner is not eligible to win again for three years.

Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2014.

Teacher Checklist

Please use this checklist to ensure that your students’ artwork is eligible for entry in the art contest:

The contest is open to students in grades K-12 residing in the United States.

☐ Artwork should depict threatened/endangered species that live or migrate within the United States. (Download a list of U.S. threatened/endangered Species.)

☐ Artwork must be the entrant’s original, hand-drawn creation and may not be traced or copied from published photographs or other artists’ works. Students may, however, use photographs or published images as guides.

☐ Entries may be multicolor, black and white, or a single color, using ink, oil or acrylic paint, watercolor, pastel, crayon, or pencil. Techniques may include scratch-board, airbrush, linoleum printing, paper collage, dry brush, crosshatch, pointillism.

☐ Photography, weak pencil and chalk drawings, or computer-generated art are not eligible.

☐ The physical size of submitted artwork must be 8 1/2″ x 11″ or smaller and less than 1/8″ thick.

☐ No lettering, words, signatures, or initials may appear on the front of the artwork.

☐ Entries should not be matted, mounted, laminated, framed, or folded.

☐ Submissions become property of the Endangered Species Coalition and will not be returned. You’re encouraged to make copies of students’ entries before sending.

☐ Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2014.

☐ You must use the mailing label marked “Do Not Bend” that is included on the entry form.

Subject Matter

Artwork should highlight one or more land- and/or ocean-dwelling species that is currently listed as threatened or endangered and either resides in or migrates to the United States—mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, plant, and/or invertebrate (e.g., insect, spider, snail, coral, crustacean or clam).

The Saving Endangered Species art contest is a celebration of America’s success and leadership in protecting threatened and endangered species. We strongly encourage students to incorporate a positive perspective in their artwork. For example, their illustrations can portray a species success story: an imperiled species that has recovered thanks to the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act. The Act has been saving plants and animals from extinction for forty years. (See Resources below for lists of success stories.)


You can download a spreadsheet containing current threatened and endangered species in the United States.

Also visit for additional information on marine species.

To find success stories in every state, see: and

In addition, you’ll find an art instructor’s lesson plan and other educational materials on the Endangered Species Day website:  You will also see the winning entries from the 2013 Youth Art Contest.

Judging Criteria

Winners will be chosen in four categories: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. From these, one national winner will be selected in 2014. Initial judging will be conducted by the International Child Art Foundation. The final winners will be chosen by a prestigious panel of judges, including artists, educators, photographers, and conservationists. The art will be judged on the basis of four primary artistic elements:

  • Concept:  How well the work relates to the endangered species theme
  • Composition:  How well the elements of line and form work together
  • Color:  How color enhances the artwork
  • Expression: How imaginatively the work conveys an idea or emotion. Artists may wish to incorporate a specific “story” in their illustrations. For example, they could show the species in its habitat, with someone in the background helping to clean up the area.

Judges pay particular attention to the concept or story that the work of art tells, in choosing the grand prizewinner. We encourage artists to pay attention to the theme of the concept—saving species.

Submission Guidelines

  • The entry must have the name, grade and title on the back of the submission in pencil.
  • Attach a completed entry form with tape or other fixative to the back of artwork. If using glue, please be careful to use one that will not run through and damage the artwork. No paperclips.
  • Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2014
  • Entries must use the address label included at the end of the online entry form.


Winners will be chosen in the four age categories. From these, one grand prize-winner will receive a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C. for him/herself and one guardian to attend a reception in May. (Accommodations will also be provided. Prize is not redeemable for cash. All other expenses are the responsibility of the winner.) In addition, the grand prize-winner will receive a special art lesson from a professional wildlife artist (via Skype) and $50 worth of art supplies of their choice.

Each of the grade category winners (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) will receive a special plaque and $25 worth of art supplies.

Second and third place finishers will receive a special certificate, and contest semi-finalists (top 10 in each grade category) will also receive a certificate.

In addition, teachers/parents/youth leaders can download and print a Certificate of Participation (available on Endangered Species Day website) for all contest entrants.

An exhibition of the artwork and other promotions are also planned.


All submissions become property of the Endangered Species Coalition. Through submission of artwork, entrants and their legal guardians grant non-exclusive reproduction and publication rights to the works submitted, which will not be returned. Though the Endangered Species Coalition will attempt to treat all submitted work with the utmost care, the Endangered Species Coalition is not responsible for any damage or loss that may occur due to U.S. Postal Service handling. Other contest partners, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the International Child Art Foundation will also have permission to use the artwork (with appropriate reference to the Youth Art Contest.)

Contest Partners

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats. It is the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is management of these important natural resources for the American public. The Service also helps ensure a healthy environment for people through its work benefiting wildlife, and by providing opportunities for Americans to enjoy the outdoors and our shared natural heritage.


Endangered Species Coalition

The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, education, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, humane, business and community groups across the country. Through public education, scientific information and citizen participation, we work to protect our nation’s wildlife and wild places. The Endangered Species Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition working with concerned citizens and decision-makers to protect endangered species and habitat.


Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.


International Child Art Foundation

The International Child Art Foundation has served as the leading art and creativity organization for American children and their international counterparts since 1997. The ICAF employs the power of the arts for the development of creativity and empathy—key attributes of successful learners and leaders in the 21st century. To date, approximately five million children have directly benefitted from the ICAF programs, and more than 110,000 people have participated in the ICAF festivals and exhibitions