2018 Saving Endangered Species College Art Contest

The Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) are pleased to announce our 2018 Saving Endangered Species College Student Art Contest, which is open to current college students, ages 17 to 30. The contest is an integral part of the 13th annual Endangered Species Day on May 18, 2018. College students are encouraged to share their art by entering the contest and also take action for wildlife on campus and in their community. Learn more about Endangered Species Day and get ideas to take action on campus.

Contest Guidelines

Please review and follow contest guidelines carefully

  • Only U.S or Canadian residents are eligible to enter.
  • All entries are to be submitted electronically at www.endangered.org/saving-endangered-species-college-art-contest
  •  All artwork must depict species chosen from one of the lists as noted in “Subject Matter” (below). We will make no exceptions to this rule.
  • Entries must be received by April 15, 2018. Late entries will not be judged.
  • All entries become the property of the Endangered Species Coalition and National Wildlife Federation.

Subject Matter

To be eligible, students’ artwork must depict a land or ocean-dwelling species or a plant/flower that has been placed on the threatened/endangered species list or is considered a recovered species or a candidate species (proposed to receive protection). You can choose a species from one of these groups. 

Ideas on how to choose a species:

  • Is your campus mascot threatened or endangered?
  • Do you have any threatened or endangered wildlife on your campus or in your community?

If you choose a species not included on one of these lists, it will not be accepted.

  • 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 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. If you are submitting artwork with accepted writing, please check the appropriate box on the entry form.  Submissions that include prohibited writing will not be judged.

Submitting Artwork

  • Artwork should be submitted electronically at endangered.org/saving-endangered-species-college-art-contest. It must be at least 2700×3600 pixels resolution. Accepted file types are limited to: jpeg, psd, tiff, jpg.
  • Follow directions carefully and provide all information requested on the submission form.
  • You must submit your artwork by April 15, 2018. Late entries will not be judged.

Judging and Prizes

All eligible entries will be part of a public vote via an online platform in early April 2018. The link for voting will be provided to all entrants to share. The top 10 entries that receive the most votes will then be judged by a panel of three judges. Three prizes will be awarded based on the final judging:

  • First Place Winner: National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Print – Ocelot – based on painting by Richard Sloan. The print of the ocelot is from art created exclusively for the National Wildlife Federation and used in NWF’s Wildlife Stamp Program, a tradition since 1938. The print was made in 1992. The first place winner will also receive an award plaque.
  • Second Prize Winner; The second prize winner will receive an award plaque and a $50.00 Amazon gift card to spend on art supplies or supplies to support wildlife conservation action on campus.
  • Third Prize Winner: The third prize winner will receive an award plaque and a $25.00 Amazon gift card to spend on art supplies or supplies to support wildlife conservation action on campus.

We encourage artists to pay attention to the overall theme, saving species.

The top 10 art entries chosen through the public vote 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?

Contest Partners

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. www.endangered.org

National Wildlife Federation

National Wildlife Federation is one of the nation’s most respected conservation education and advocacy organizations with a mission to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. For over 25 years, NWF has worked with more than half of the nation’s 4,100 colleges and universities to green their grounds, curricula and advance students’ leadership development and careers in sustainability.   (www.nwfecoleaders.org)


Thank you for entering the Endangered Species Day College Student Art Contest. Endangered Species Day is coming up on May 18, 2018 – Please take action on campus or in your community for endangered species. Learn more about Endangered Species Day and action opportunities for campus students. Find out if others on your campus are taking action for Endangered Species Day. You could use your art contest entry on fliers or online to encourage students to take action or host a showing of your endangered species art and share more information about endangered species and why it’s important to ensure their protection.