Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

2021 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

The Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) is pleased to announce our 2021 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest, which is open to K-12 grade studentsresiding in the U.S.–including those who are homeschooled or belong to a youth/art program. The contest is an integral part of the 16th annual Endangered Species Day, Friday May 21st, 2021. These are the primary goals of the Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest:

-Encouraging and inspiring youth to creatively express animal and plant diversity;

-Spotlighting the incredible skill and talent of youth artists and providing a space for young people to express the importance of wildlife through visual art;

-Growing awareness of the rich diversity of species in the United States or US Territories, especially species protected or recovered by the Endangered Species Act;

-Inspiring support and empathy for wildlife and increasing actions for animal and plant conservation.For more background on the contest, including the Missing Species Report integrated art and science lesson plan and other resources, please visit

Subject Matter

To be eligible for the contest, student artwork must depict an animal or plant species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, or a species that was previously listed under the Act but is now recovered. The Endangered Species Act applies to species living or migrating within the United States and U.S. territories, or within the territorial waters of the U.S. The listed or recovered species include a diverse variety of animals and plants living on land, in freshwater, or in the ocean. ** Please note: every year we receive artworks of species which are non-US species and are therefore ineligible, for example, pandas, tigers and other animals. Please use the helpful lists below to identify eligible plants and animals which are currently listed as threatened or endangered by the Endangered Species Act or species which have been recovered. Looking at the incredible diversity of animals and plants included on the lists is an excellent way to educate your students about local and national species. We can’t wait to see which animals and plants inspire them to create art! We strongly encourage entries which tell a story of hope for species conservation and recovery. Examples include: images of wildlife being released/ reintroduced into native habitat; images of habitat restoration and habitat clean-up to support particular species; images showing connection between species and how they relate, why they are important to each other’s survival, etc.


  • Students’ artwork must be original. Computer-generated images and traced images will not be judged. It is critical that submitted artwork not be overly derivative of images found on the Internet, in print media, or elsewhere. To avoid copyright infringement, works thought to be copies will be disqualified as will work which has been traced. Computer-generated images are currently ineligible.
  • Students participating in the contest should compose their chosen threatened/endangered species on an 8 ½ x 11 or smaller surface.
  • Media: We can accept artwork done in crayon, ink, acrylics, oil paint, pastels, water color, colored pencils, scratchboard, color marker, chalk, pastels, charcoal, or paper collage. We cannot accept artwork done using plain black pencil or weak colored pencil.
  • No lettering, words, signatures or any other markings may appear on the front of the artwork. This includes labeling the depicted species, writing one’s name, or a signature. Lettering that is creatively incorporated into the art (such as a posted sign) is allowed. Submissions that include prohibited writing will not be judged.
  • To ensure the image submitted best represents the artwork, please provide a high quality representation (scan or photograph) of the work only. Please avoid including distracting backgrounds which detract from the actual artwork, such as a hand holding the art, the room behind the art work or a frame/mat around the work. Please orient the image in the direction the artwork should be viewed (i.e. not upside down, at a 90 degree angle, etc.) Please note: ESC cannot accept physical artworks – online submissions only.
  • All artwork becomes the property of the Endangered Species Coalition. Submission of the artwork grants the Endangered Species Coalition a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to publish your student’s/child’s artwork in Endangered Species Coalition’s editorial, educational, and promotional print and digital materials, in our promotional and educational posts to social media, and for all other lawful uses—including artwork print sales—in furtherance of the Coalition’s mission. All published artwork will be credited with a copyright notice in the following form: “© Artist’s Name.”

Submitting Artwork

  • Artwork should be submitted electronically at It must be at least 3300×2550 pixels resolution.
  • Follow directions carefully and provide all information requested on the submission form.
  • You must submit your artwork by March 1, 2021. Late entries will not be judged.


A prestigious panel of judges will select contest winners for the following awards: Grand Prize, First Place, and Grade Level winners. The Grade Level winners will be judged and categorized in four groups: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. The art will be judged on four primary artistic elements:

  • Concept: How well does the work relate to the endangered species theme?
  • Composition: How well do the elements of line and form work together?
  • Color: How does color enhance the artwork?
  • Expression: How imaginatively does the work convey an idea or emotion?

Endangered Species Coalition will announce the 2021 contest prizes soon! Please check back for the announcement of our new prize structure.

Additionally, judges pay particular attention to the concept or story that the artwork tells. We encourage artists to pay attention to the theme, saving species. You can see examples of previous year’s contest winners here.


Endangered Species Coalition will announce the 2021 contest prizes soon! Please check back for the announcement of our new prize structure.

About ESC

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.