Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

 2017 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest


2016 Winning Entry from Miles Yun.

2016 Winning Entry from Miles Yun.

The Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) is pleased to announce our 2017 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest, which is open to K-12 grade students, including those who are homeschooled or belong to a youth/art program. The contest is an integral part of the 12th annual Endangered Species Day on May 19, 2017. For more background on the contest, including an art lesson plan for teachers and other resources, please visit

Contest Guidelines

  • You will be submitting your artwork electronically instead of by mail. (See “Submitting Artwork” section below for details on sending student art.)
  • All artwork must depict species chosen from one of two lists as noted in “Subject Matter” (below). We will make no exceptions to this rule.
  • Entries must be received by March 1, 2017. Late entries will not be judged.
  • All entries become the property of the Endangered Species Coalition.

Subject Matter

  • To be eligible, students’ artwork must depict a land or ocean dwelling species that either lives in or migrates through the United States and its waters, or a plant/flower that is found in the United States, and has been placed on the threatened or endangered species list. You can choose a species from one of these four groups:
    • Vertebrate Animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes)
    • Invertebrate Animals (clams, snails, insects, arachnids, crustaceans)
    • Flowering Plants
    • Non-Flowering Plants (conifers and cycads, ferns and allies, lichens)

(Note: You can get additional information on individual species included in these lists by clicking on the species’ scientific name.) *

  • Alternatively, students may depict a species that was previously on the endangered species list but is now considered recovered. You can choose a species from this list.
  • We strongly encourage participants to have their pieces tell a story of hope. An example of this could be a painting of an endangered marine species with people in the background cleaning up a beach.
  • Judges particularly appreciate artwork showing species in their habitats. Don’t forget about the plants that support all life!


  • 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.
  • 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.

Submitting Artwork

  • Artwork should be submitted electronically at It must be 3300×2550 pixels at 300 dpi resolution.
  • Follow directions carefully and provide all information requested on the submission form.
  • You must submit your artwork by March 1, 2017. Late entries will not be judged.


A prestigious panel of judges will select winners in four categories: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. The grand prize winner will be selected from the four grade-level winners. In choosing the grand prize winner, judges pay particular attention to the concept or story that the artwork tells. We encourage artists to pay attention to the theme, saving species.

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?


Grand Prize: The grand prize-winner will receive a round-trip flight arranged by the Endangered Species Coalition to Washington, D.C. and accommodations chosen by the Endangered Species Coalition for himself/herself and one guardian to attend a rewards ceremony in May, 2017. All other expenses related to the trip are the responsibility of the winner’s guardian. The grand prize is not redeemable for cash. The grand prize-winner will also receive an art lesson from a professional wildlife artist (in person or via Skype) and $50 worth of art supplies. 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.

Grade Category Winners: Each of the grade-level winners will receive a plaque and $25 worth of art supplies.

ESC will award certificates to second- and third-place finishers and contest semi-finalists (usually the top ten in each grade category). In addition, teachers, parents, and youth leaders can download and print a Certificate of Participation for all contest participants here.

The Endangered Species Coalition will seek opportunities to exhibit the artwork of the contest semifinalists.

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.