Midwest Artist Wins National Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest:
Grand Prize Winner is Kindergartener from St. Louis
By Georgia Parham
For the second year in a row, a young artist from the Midwest has taken top honors in the national Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest. The Grand Prize was awarded to Ava Bribiesco, a kindergartener attending the International Schoolhouse in St. Louis, Missouri. Ava’s artwork depicted the endangered American burying beetle, a bright orange insect that is native to Missouri.
Ava was honored at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Congressional Reception in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 2013, and had her name engraved on a special trophy. In addition, she receives an art lesson from renowned marine artist “Wyland,” a plaque and art supplies. Other first place category winners received a plaque and art supplies.
Asked about her choice for her artwork, Ava explained, “I love bugs and I thought the orange on its antennas were beautiful. I love all animals and it makes me sad that some are endangered. I hope we can protect them so they can survive."
Ava’s win comes a year after another Midwestern artist, Sky Waters from Eagan, Minnesota, was awarded grand prize.
American burying beetles were listed as endangered in 1989 – the first insect species to be so recognized. In 2012, American burying beetles were reintroduced in Missouri, the first reintroduction of an endangered species in Missouri.
The Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Child Art Foundation announced the winners of the contest, an integral part of the 8th annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 17, 2013.
In addition to Ava, 40 semifinalists were chosen by the International Child Art Foundation and their artwork can be viewed on a special online gallery at: http://www.stopextinction.org/esd/434-2013-art.html
The winners were chosen by a panel of artists, photographers, scientists and conservationists including Wyland, the marine 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.
Started in 2006 by the United States Senate, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of our nation’s imperiled plants and wildlife and wild places, with an emphasis on success stories of species recovery.