When the Humane Society International (HSI) was involved in the original negotiations for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in the late 1990s, it promised a new era of environmental protection. The Federal Government had recognised its obligation to protect our environment at a national level and introduced...
The Threatened Species Children’s Art Competition is run annually in Australia for children aged 5-12 to draw and write about their favourite threatened Australian species. This year, Humane Society International coordinated the competition with the aim to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders, with the vital support of the Kids in Nature Network, Forestmedia and the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species Program.
Over 2000 children and 200 schools in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory took part, creating artworks that were incredibly personal, creative and thought-provoking.
We received some stunning artworks, many of which carried a vibrant and hopeful message. The young contestants drew, painted or collaged a huge range of plant and animal species, from brush-tailed rock wallabies and southern cassowaries to Dorrigo waratahs and Kaputar pink slugs.
Some children drew species from their own local communities with which they felt a special connection, and others chose a species they’d never known existed before the competition. Every child showed their love for the species they chose, and concern for the future of Australia’s wildlife.
The competition concluded with an award ceremony in each of the state’s capitals, where we discussed the importance of giving children a voice for their future and the value of protecting Australia’s native species from the various threats they face.
A panel of expert judges selected the best artworks to represent each state in the final exhibitions, which were launched on National Threatened Species Day in the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra Botanic Gardens.
Each exhibition was open to the public for several weeks, helping to raise awareness about threatened species and what we can do to help them.
Despite the confronting theme, this contest focused on the innate value of our native species and the belief that we can all help to protect them. Each participant, and often their teachers, parents, siblings and friends learned something new about a threatened species.
Many families and schools got involved far beyond the scope of the competition, organising lessons, excursions and projects around the theme of threatened species and our role in protecting them.
The conclusion of the Threatened Species Art Competition was the question “what can we do now?” and many of the participants have already begun raising awareness about their chosen species and the threats they face.
You can see the finalists gallery here.