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Annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest accepting submissions

Students are encouraged to participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May. This year also commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.

The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Young artists who are home schooled and participate in youth groups are also eligible to submit their art. Previous winners have come from California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Louisiana and as far away as Alaska. Entries must be postmarked by March 15.

This year, the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest finalists will be judged by a prestigious panel of artists, photographers and conservationists, including Wyland, renowned marine life artist; Jack Hanna, host of “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild”; David Littschwager, a freelance photographer and regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine; Susan Middletown, a photographer who has collaborated with Littschwager and whose own work has been published in four books; and Alice Tangerini, botanical illustrator for the Smithsonian Institution.

The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) will select the 40 semifinalists from thousands of entries. Winners will be chosen in four categories: K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, and will receive plaques and art supply gift packs. In addition, one grand prize winner will be honored with their name engraved on a special trophy and receive a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C. with one guardian to attend a reception in May. The grand prize winner will also receive art supplies and a special art lesson (via Skype) from Wyland, the artist.

For more information, including judging criteria and an entry form, visit http://www.endangeredspeciesday.org/. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ where you can download podcasts and find links to follow on Twitter and Facebook.