When we saw the winning artwork from this year’s Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, it was so darn impressive we had to share it with you. The annual contest is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Endangered Species Coalition, in honor of Endangered Species Day which falls on May 17th this year.  Kindergartners through 12th graders were tasked with drawing or painting one or more endangered mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, plant, and/or invertebrate found in North America. Below is a roundup of some of our favorite semi-finalists and the winners from each age group.

Of course our favorites were the animals that are the stars of our most popular Natural Habitat Adventures trips:

Polar Bears: We wish we could use this amazing artwork for the polar bear tours in our next Nat Hab brochure!

By Amanda Liu, grades K-2, © Endangered Species Coalition

By Aleese Smith, grades 3-5, © Endangered Species Coalition

Orcas: These drawings and paintings look like they could be straight from our Whales & Wildlife of the San Juan Islands trip!

By Keertana Sreekumar, grades K-2, © Endangered Species Coalition

By Ian Hsiao, grades 6-8, © Endangered Species Coalition

By Jordan Lei, grades 9-12, © Endangered Species Coalition

And now for the winners…

1st Place for grades  9-12: MemoRee’ Plaisance’s Jaguar looks very realistic at first glance, but if you take a closer look you see that the spots are filled in with messages like “Please help save the jaguar.” Very creative.

© Endangered Species Coalition

1st Place for grades 6-8: a surreal depiction of an Albatross by Kevin Huo.

© Endangered Species Coalition

1st Place for grades 3-5: Anisha Kundu’s serene watercolor painting of a Humpback Whale.

© Endangered Species Coalition

1st place winner grades K-2: a colorful rendition of a Garter Snake by Hannah Chacko.  Is it just us, or are these drawings getting better and better the younger the kids are?

© Endangered Species Coalition

And the Grand Prize Winner: a modern cubism approach to the American Burying Beetle with a touch of tissue paper, by Ava Bribriesco.  Can you guess what grade she’s in?

© Endangered Species Coalition

She’s only in KINDERGARTEN!  Go Ava!