Wow! The Wild At Art competition has wrapped up for the year and we've been absolutely blown away by the stunning, heartfelt artworks submitted by Australia's next generation of environmentalists. 

Nearly 6,800 kids picked up their paint brushes and pens to help raise awareness of Australia’s threatened plants and animals – what a fantastic effort!

With so many wonderful entries, it was incredibly difficult for our judges to narrow the outstanding talent down to just a handful of winners – but here are their top picks. 

Scroll down to view the winning artworks, written pieces and People’s Choice winner. You can also check out the full 110 finalists in our Facebook album or watch the celebration event hosted live on 13 October 2023:

First place best artwork ages 5-7

Barbie of the bush by Lillian, age 7

In Australia, Major Mitchell cockatoos are endangered. They have been added to the list this year. It is hard for them to survive fires, drought, hardly any food for them to eat, less hollow trees to sleep, predators. Did you know that they can’t make a nest close to other major Mitchell nests - their nest has to be 2km away! I ran that in the cross country. That’s a long way. It makes me really sad because I’ve never seen a Major Mitchell cockatoo and I really really want to see one. They have red, yellow, white and pink feathers. The pink cockatoo I have made has a raised crown because it is startled and scared by the fierce fire.

I love cockatoos because they have lots of bright colours, are loud, crazy and fun. Where I live I have seen corellas, yellow tailed black cockatoos and sulphur crested cockatoos. I would have to travel to the arid region in Australia in our caravan to see this bright, pink bird. What a pink beauty!

Second place best artwork ages 5-7

Please stop hurting our home by Lena, age 7

I chose to draw the little penguin because it was my favourite animal in Australia. I did not understand why this animal was getting endangered and why there is nothing being done to protect such animals. I learnt that they were getting endangered because of climate change and global warming. I purposely drew three little penguin walking on the beach because it was the last clean beach remaining for these penguins. Their home was getting destroyed. They are looking at people destroying their homes. We must find a solution to stop sea land clearing so that these cute little penguins can find a home to beach on.

First place best artwork ages 8-10

Ode to the ocean by Marco, age 9

I chose the leatherback turtle because they are the oldest and the largest marine turtles, reaching lengths of up to 2 meters and weighing 500 kilograms. Being one of the only turtles without hard shells, they are endangered due to the illegal collection of eggs, the killing of adult turtles, coastal developments, and pollution. In my work, this turtle is singing an ode to the lost ocean home and swimming away along with the coral to search for a better home. 

Second place best artwork ages 8-10

Sandpipers by Sharon, age 8

Sandpipers are friendly birds that we often see. This bird can survive only if the habitat of the same environment is maintained. I drew this picture because I thought that this bird is our friend and that we should live together, protecting it for this bird and all animals.

First place best artwork ages 11-12

Box jellyfish by Kathy, age 11

This story beings about a lonely poisonous box jellyfish

Hidden their true beauty in, thinking to die because of humans and other jellyfishs, Sinking form the sunlight zone to the twilight zone and then the midnight zone but before the box jellyfish opened it's eyes it saw a glowing light, The box jellyfish didn't know where it was form then it saw itself …

Second place best artwork ages 11-12

Indian Yellow-Nosed Albatross by Cotton, age 12

The Indian Yellow-Nose Albatross: There is only an estimated amount of 82000 Indian Yellow-Noses left in the world. They occur in the Southern Indian Ocean. They build mud nests in bare rocky areas or on tussock grass or ferns, and only a single egg is laid. These couraged birds have suffered years of rapid ongoing population decline due to the global warming that we have caused.

Also, they get easily tangled up in fishing nets. I have drawn an Indian Yellow-Nosed Albatross swimming with tears, fearing that someday, its species would become extinct. They could only live a lifespan of 15 years, yet we have made it far worse for them.

Because of us, they are now endangered, so it is our responsibility to help them survive and increase their population.

Let's save them.

First place best groupwork

A normal day in the ocean by students from Tamm Art Studio

It took 31 students(from age 5-12) four weeks to complete this work. The picture shows a number of endangered Australian sea creatures struggling with the pollution, facing different dangers, and suffering from hunger while trying so hard to survive. Too sad, and this is their everyday life.
The humpback whale is carrying a starving dugong, bit off a long fishing line but its fin was wrapped by a fishing net. A little penguin climbed on the dugong’s back, waving a plastic glove to stop a Fairy Tern for fresh food for its friend. The tern kindly offered the only eatables she found but her babies (nested in the whale’s tail) would be hungry for another day. A life buoy stacked on a black-browed albatross’s neck but the bird hasn’t stopped searching for fast food. A Flatback sea turtle and a group of Oxley Pygmy Perch were caught by the net, luckily a sawfish came to rescue. A hammerhead shark found a VB bottle and a champagne cup, an eel is playing hide and seek around a sunk tire, a white’s seahorse is looking at itself through a mirror, a sea lion is trying to smoke…
Waste waters, petrols, smokes, rubbish, threats, and more to come. Please let’s stop this, for the sea animals, and our future!

Second place best groupwork

Green sea turtles at play by students from Wentworth Falls Public School

The Green Sea Turtles are an endangered species. They are fascinating sea creatures because they can change gender according to the temperature of the water. Because of climate change the waters are warmer. In warmer waters the Sea Turtles become female during incubation. Cooler waters they become male. We would like fishing practices to change so that they stop fishing the Green Sea Turtles in their nets by accident and also to stop pollution in our Australian waters.

First place best artwork from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child

Indigenous goanna by Leo, age 12

This artwork represents a significant species - the goanna, known widely to the land and indigenous population. I am a proud to represent my culture and animals relating to my heritage.

Second place best artwork from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child

Wiyabu Numbat by Olivia, age 9

My story is about two little numbats snuggled in a hollow. They are surrounded by their country, the desert, bush and water ways. We need to stop their habitat from being destroyed, instead we should protect this beautiful little animal. With less than 1000 numbats left they need us.

First place best entry from a regional artist

Dunnart on verge of extinction by Lahaina, age 12

In modern day, most of us are fixated on saving endangered species. The big, cute, and cuddly animals like koalas or friendly giraffes are getting protected at all costs. Some small and nocturnal animals such as the Kangaroo Island dunnart still passes unnoticed. The threat of feral cats have kept the numbers of KI Dunnarts under 500. However, after the kangaroo Island fires on 20th December 2019, only fifty individuals are left in the entire world. So, as the world becomes more aware, hopefully this tiny and unique marsupial can continue to be protected for generations to come.

Second place best entry from a regional artist

Sugar glider by Shane, age 11

I drew this animal. This animal is reasoned as endangered for habitat loss and climate change. I used combinations of painting and markers to draw this artwork.
I like this artwork and the reason is is because I used a lot or bright colors in this artwork there is also a story in the artwork which makes the artwork look fun and interesting.

First place best plant

Cranbrook Bell by Chloe, age 10

Deawiniab meeboldii (Cranbrook Bell) is a flowering plant that normally blooms between August and November. This flower belongs to the family called Mgrtaceac Darwinia meeboldii is also known as Cranbrook Bell or mountain bell. The flower is found mostly in south west of Western Australia. These flowers are endangered because their habitat is shrinking overtime. I chose this endangering flower because it is different to others because it hangs upside down and most flowers are upright.
I have learned that these flowers are endangered and we need to protect this flower by stopping habitat loss. This shows me that not only animals become endangered but plants also can become endangered due to loss of habitat.

Second place best plant

Hidden purple gem by Deeptha, age 9

My artwork uses watercolour, with markers and layered paper to show the vibrant purple, pink, red and white colours of the purple wattle flower. This flower is called a hidden gem because it is hard to find and in not many areas of Australia. We need to save the purple wattle!

First place most unusual artwork

Hug the slug by Griffin, age 12

I have chosen this animal because it is big and cute. It is also a slug and most people think ew or yuck when they think of slugs, but I thought that it was the perfect thing to make an artwork on. It is an endangered species that lives on an extinct volcano in North-west NSW. The volcano is called Mount Kaputar which has lots of other endangered species. The slug is a part of a unique group of unusual animals known as the Mount Kaputar Land Snail and Slug Threatened Ecological Community. This slug is around 30cm big! But in my artwork I have made a few smaller ones. If you look really closely at the artwork you will see a secret word or symbol. I have made my artwork out of Fimo Clay and glued it onto a wooden board. It also has a frame around it.

Second place most unusual work

Memories of lost birds by Tadhg, age 9

I love to learn about birds and to see one I haven’t seen before. When it’s a rare bird, I am excited that maybe they might come back (from being endangered).
There are birds that Grandad remembers seeing in his garden that he doesn’t see anymore. He saw a crested tit and now they don’t come to his garden anymore. I might never see one.
Birds are losing habitat because of farms and houses and roads, and I might be seeing birds now that children in the future won’t see unless we protect them.
I have made a bird from many feathers my grandparents and I have found, and flowers dried from the garden. There is a bit of coral and a shell too.
Maybe even common birds we see now, might not be common in the future. Maybe we’ll have to imagine them from the feathers we find…

Best written work ages 5-7

Magic Blossoms and Bandicoot Friends by Suri, age 7

I made a world where real things and magic mix up together. The hibiscus flower is the star with its fancy petals that look like they're dancing in a show. And guess what? There's a curious bandicoot, like it's saying hi and going on an adventure! I used colors that feel like a rainbow party, and I worked really hard to make everything look just right.

You know, this picture makes me think about nature and how important it is to take care of it. Some animals, like the bandicoot, are going away forever because of something called species extinction. It's like characters disappearing from a storybook. I hope my picture helps people see how amazing nature is and how we need to protect it. Nature's like a big magic story, especially for kids like me!

Best written work ages 8-10

Wings of Night by Poppy, age 10

“Over time her kind has adapted to be a vicious and merciless hunter, with hooked talons and sharp beak. Now they must learn to be survivors.” The masked owl is a treasured Tasmanian species that is slowly but surely losing its home to logging. Masked owls are a wonder to see, a stunning sight to behold. “Her dark wings spread widely, her pale underbelly, heart-shaped facial disk and hypnotising obsidian eyes catch the moonlight and sparkle.” Most of Tasmanian owls inhabit the Tarkine, also known as takayna is an ancient forest in North-West Tasmania, which is suffering from drastic logging. “Her heart sears with pain at the thoughtlessness of this, the cruelty, the short-sightedness of humanity.” In my artwork I try to capture the beauty of the masked owl, a nearly impossible task. I hope we do not lose them too.

Best written work ages 11-12

Whale sharks by Lexi, age 12

The glistening water, rays of light and the sound of water lapping; everything so peaceful, so quiet. Warmth floods through me as I soar to the top of the water, then I start my descent. I plunge through the water into the dark depths. I spin and I twirl, as fish dart out of my way. My life is perfect just how it is, so please keep it that way. Whale sharks are endangered, with only about 200,000 left in the entire ocean. Climate change, pollution and illegal fishing is their main threat. It may seem like this enormous challenge is out of our hands but we all have the power to make small changes everyday that can help not just our curious whale sharks, but our oceans at large. Simple choices like recycling, no single use plastic and turning off electronics when not in use are all great. So together we can strive to help our Whale Sharks.

People's Choice award

Save Eastern Curlew by Breonna, age 12

The Eastern Curlew, a majestic, enigmatic bird, serves as a captivating muse for artists around the world. It's elegant form, with its long, slender bill and graceful demeanor, offers a rich tapestry of inspiration for creative artists.

Through my art work, I want to shed light on the challenges this species faces due to habitat degradation and climate change. By showcasing the beauty of the Eastern Curlew, I want to bring awareness to protect Curlew's.

Save Eastern Curlews ecosystem and support conservative efforts to ensure this magnificent bird's survival for future generations.

Environmental Heroes award

Save our Sharks by Kindergarten class, Newington Junior School - Wyvern House

The kindegarten boys at Newington's Wyvern House have been passionately studying sharks, they love sharks. With watching documentaries of Environmentalist shark lover Cristina Zenato – students became concerned with rubbish in the sea. they did a whole group work painting 2 large scale seas together, one a polluted sea. Here they collected all their rubbish every morning tea and lunch to see how much waste they had. They then stuck it on their artwork of the sea – to show people what rubbish in the sea looks like and our type of rubbish can end up in the sea. They also wrote messages to their school community on their artwork how not to pollute and to save the sharks. They also collected rubbish and made sculptures/ jellyfish out of them. then they had a clean sea where they put their drawing and watercolours of sharks on the the clean sea. they researched the sharks that were endangered and drew them too – the Tawny Nose Shark, spear tooth shark and the northern river shark. Boys also made individual posters of sharks caught in rubbish or nets or whatever they wanted to talk about. They are so driven to let their viewers know we must keep our seas clean.

ACF would like to thank every child who took part in the 2023 Wild At Art threatened species art competition. 

Header artwork: Green sea turtles at play by Wentworth Falls Public School

Hansika Bhagani

Marketing Communications Lead