• Rachel Allen Dillon

Brilliant Young Artists Inspired to Help Endangered Animals


For the past seven years, I've been a judge for the Endangered Species Coalition annual youth art contest. Every year, I'm honored to review 40 young artists' work. The categories of artists are broken down by age, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and the top ten pieces in each group are reviewed by a panel of six judges. It is a difficult process to decide which pieces of work inspire support and empathy for wildlife and increase actions for animal and plant conservation the most when all of them do.


I sit for hours trying to create a matrix to determine who in my mind are the winners. Of course, it isn't up to only me. There is a consensus that occurs between the judges. Some years I've fought hard for what I think is the most moving, endearing piece that represents the heart of a species and their fight to exist in the world, some years I've agreed with the other judges and changed my mind about the winner.


Regardless of the process, I'm always amazed by the talent of these young people and the depths they reach when capturing the heart of an animal in their work. The ones that move me the most are the ones that give me hope, hope that our youth will help nature pick up the broken pieces and put them back together.


Take some time and review these kids' artwork. They are deep and beautiful and frequently heartbreaking. In my eyes, they are all winners. https://www.flickr.com/photos/50286147@N02/albums/with/72157712858316211


Art credit goes to Scarlett Cai (6-8 grade category 2020) American Crocodile.

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