Newsroom Midwest Region

News Release
April 22, 2013

Vanessa Kauffman, Office of Communications, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 703-358-2138
David Robinson, Director, Endangered Species Day, 619-697-1459
Leda Huta, Executive Director, Endangered Species Coalition, 202-320-6467
Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq, Executive Chairman, International Child Art Foundation, 202-530-1000

National Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest Winners Chosen

Grand Prize Winner is Kindergartener from St. Louis

American Burying Beetle, created by Ava Bribiesco from Missouri, was selected as the grand prize winner of the 2013 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest.
American Burying Beetle, created by Ava Bribiesco from Missouri, was selected as the grand prize winner of the 2013 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Child Art Foundation have announced the winners of the 2013 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest. The art contest is an integral part of the 8th annual national Endangered Species Day on May 17, 2013.

“Each one of the more than 2,000 young artists deserves our nation’s thanks for bringing focus to the plight of the Oahu tree snail, the Florida panther, and other threatened and endangered species that dwell in our mountains, valleys and waters,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I am inspired by these talented young people who have depicted in art some of our nation's most precious natural resources.”

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.

Other winners were:

First place winners in grade categories:

Grades K-2:
Hannah Chacko (1st grade)
Fremont, CA

Grades 3-5:
Anisha Kundu (4th grade)
Sudbury, MA

Grades 6-8:
Kevin Huo (8th grade)
Foster, CA

Grades 9-12:
Memoree Plaisance (10th grade)
Franklinton, LA

The winners were chosen by a prestigious 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.

“It is amazing to see children express their love of animals and plants in their remarkable submissions,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “We congratulate each winner and also thank all students, parents, teachers, artists, and everyone else who was involved in making this contest a success."

The grand prize winner will be honored at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Congressional Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 22, 2013, and have her name engraved on a special trophy. In addition, the winner will receive an art lesson from Wyland, a plaque, and art supplies. First place category winners will receive a plaque and art supplies.

Forty semifinalists were chosen by the International Child Art Foundation and their artwork can be viewed on a special online gallery at: Digital prints of their artwork can also be viewed at the U.S. Botanic Garden on the national mall from mid-April through the end of June. “We reviewed such a variety of excellent entries from talented young artists from throughout the country; it was difficult to choose even these 40 semifinalists,” stated Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq, Executive Chairman of the International Child Art Foundation.

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 back in Missouri. More information on the species and the reintroduction can be found at

For more information about the annual art contest, winners and Endangered Species Day, visit

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.

Many of the Service’s field and regional offices will be hosting events in their communities and providing unique programs to visitors on endangered species conservation in celebration of Endangered Species Day. For more information on how you can find an event near you, please visit

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to where you can download podcasts and find links to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.