Throughout June and July, over 3000 kids picked up their paint brushes and pens to help raise awareness of Australia’s threatened plants and animals through the 2021 Wild At Art threatened species art competition for kids.
The result? An incredible tapestry of art, brought to you by Australia’s next generation of environmentalists.
Our expert panel of judges had a very difficult time narrowing down 3000 stunning artworks to just 100 finalists and 22 winners.
Scroll down to view the winning artworks, written pieces, environmental heroes and People’s Choice winners. Or check out the full 100 finalist artworks in our Wild At Art virtual exhibition.
The Giant Dragonfly In A Blood Red Sky by Daniel, age 5
"I love to chase those pretty dragonflies and take photos of them in the national park and recently watched a video with dad about the giant dragonfly, it is one of the largest dragonflies in the world, its ancestry can date back almost a few hundred million years, they are good at hunting mosquitoes and other small insects, and can change colour with surrounding grasses and plants, however the climate change and bushfires are threatening the survival of the giant dragonfly and it is endangered, I really want to help to protect the lovely giant dragonfly, that is way I drew the picture."
Snack time for the masked owl by Daniel, age 7
"Masked owls are becoming threatened by losing their nest in old tree hollows because old trees are cut down. Masked owls have special powers, and can see in dark and hear tiny noises. They are good hunters, which help ecosystem."
Golden Numbat by Kaia, age 9
"My chosen animal is a Numbat. The numbat is the animal emblem of West Australia. There are less than 1,000 numbats left in West Australia and they are endangered! Numbats are small colourful creatures, they are between 35-45cm, they have a finely pointed muzzle and a bushy tail about the same length as their body. Numbats eat between 15,000 and 20,000 termites each day. Their shelters are large hollow logs or a burrow with a small chamber at the end. Numbats are carnivorous. Numbat predators are foxes and feral cats. My numbat is holding a triangle. In the orchestra the triangle can be heard above all the other instruments. All endangered numbats need to be heard to be protected. The End!"
The beauty of the forest by Hana, age 9
"I chose to paint the fabulous superb fruit dove because of the countless stunning features including the eye-catching colours, the unique pattern of the feathers, and their fruitful diets. However, above all of these reasons, the Superb fruit dove is endangered and population numbers are decreasing due to habitat loss. These parrots need our help! Additionally, the endangered Crimson Spider orchid is also featured in this painting. I chose to put this flower in my painting as it is a truly beautiful flower that everyone should be able to see. However, this flower is also dying because of habitation loss. I painted this artwork and entered this competition because I can not let another species go extinct because of the wrong actions humans have made. We must spread the word and save these beautiful plants and animals."
Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagle by Lilly, age 11
"The reason I chose the Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagle is because I would hate to see these beautiful birds become extinct due to the careless acts of humans, such as: collision with man made objects (power lines), being hunted by humans, and the disturbance of their nests. I believe that this should stop and that we should protect these beautiful creatures. In my painting I have put the threats in the background but the eagle still stands strong and beautiful."
A Tribute to Nature by Aden, age 12
"From when I was a little kid until now animals and plants was held in a special place in my heart. However, each year some of these special animal and plants perish away and never come back. This is what might happen to the Orange-bellied parrot and many more species which are on the urge of extinction. And this is due to habitat loss from the fires from global warming and also the productive needs of mankind. I want to live along with animals and plants, especially the Orange-bellied parrot. We need to protect nature and our actions can start small such as to conserve energy and save paper but, it is the responsibility of all of us to protect endangered animals and plants."
The remaining one percent of the Northern Rivers Big Scrub NSW by Coffee Camp Public School
"Our rainforest and creeks are living treasures. This collage tells a story. Some koalas are playing in trees and they love it. We all like koalas and can see them sleeping and eating in tall gumtrees. A Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is resting on the leaves. Colourful birds fly by and sing songs of joy. Twisting snakes and a bush turkey play nicely. And a family of platypus are blowing bubbles and flapping in the creek, they surface to wink at fat frogs who croak mysterious calls. Mister fruit bat hangs upside down in a tall Tallowwood tree and possums shelter in branches sleeping the day away. So noisy in the rainforest with all the bush creatures chatter, laughing and playing. The animals you can see in our picture are now endangered. We wish the Rainforest, creeks and animals are not endangered."
The Masked Owl by Prep Denney/Franks, Spreyton Primary School
"The children were very upset by the idea that these owls were losing their homes by the chopping down of trees and bushfires. They compared “The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton to the hollow tree that the masked owl needs and were sad that these old trees were often chopped down. They worried that the trees were needed as a lookout to spot some of their food, such as huge moths. We talked about sprays and poisons being used by farmers (and why they were used) and that sometimes these owls died because they ate something that was poisoned. This was a hard subject to discuss with them. However, it was a first step in discussing care of our environment."
Leatherback Alone by Tangara SSP School
"We chose the Leatherback Turtle because of the ropes on its shell. We were happy to learn in videos we watched that special people are helping to save them. They are talking to Islanders saying that they can eat other food - not Leatherback Turtles. In our artwork we decided to have our Leatherback Turtles swimming away from each other because every time we saw them in the water they were always alone."
Patterns of Carnaby's Cockatoo by Connor, age 10
"I chose the Carnaby’s Cockatoo for this artwork. Earlier in the week, I saw a large flock of black cockatoos outside our house. I thought they were beautiful although I did not immediately fall in love with the animal. I was struggling for inspiration for this artwork and thought of the cockatoos I’d seen. I decided to draw the Carnaby’s cockatoo. They are a species of black cockatoo of South- Western Australia that are now threatened. The branches in my drawing are bare of leaves as these cockatoos are threatened due to urban development limiting their food source. Doing this drawing made me now love these beautiful animals."
Mr Fuzzles The Eastern Quoll by Charlie, age 10
"I chose the Quoll because not many people have heard or even seen a Quoll. Quolls are slightly built with large sensitive ears and soft, thick fur. Small white spots cover the body except for the bushy tail which may have a white tip. It has two colour phases – ginger-brown or black, both with white spots on the body but not the tail. They once used to be common throughout Australia, but were declared extinct on the mainland in 1963 due to introduced feral predators and now only exist in Tasmania. Breeding occurs in early winter. After a gestation period of 21 days, females give birth to up to 30 young."
My Endangered Species - Wollemi Pine by Eleanor, age 5
"I chose the Wollemi Pine because it is from when the dinosaurs were alive and is more than 90 million years old. It has interesting shapes in its branches."
Jewel of Our Natural Heritage by Prana, age 10
"Healthy ecosystems depend on plant and animal species as their foundations. When a species becomes endangered, it is a sign that the ecosystem is slowly falling apart. As an Australian I feel it’s my duty to contribute towards saving the native endangered species by creating the awareness through my artwork. This is my effort to save rare jewels of our natural heritage. Nature is undoubtably the best artist, when I saw Phaius australis first time I was mesmerised with its natural beauty and decided to contribute towards saving this beautiful plant. Phaius australis species is one of Australia's most highly desired orchids. An illegal collection of plants and loss of habitat are its biggest threats. Other significant threats to this species include fire, draining of habitat for housing and related infra-structure, sand mining, peat mining and agriculture."
My Bushy Hair by Caroline, age 5
"Can you see that it’s not the hair that grows on my head but thick shrubs? Yes, because my hair is actually very thin and short, but these shrubs called Allocasuarina emuina live in the Sunshine Coast and Pine Rivers (Sunshine Coast District) of Queensland can grow to 0.5-2.5 meters high, they also have long and thin needle-like branchlets. If my hair is as thick and dense as a shrub, my sister said that I can do all kinds of hairstyles, which will be such an exciting thing to do! However, these shrubs are threatened by the natural environment. They are endangered plants in Australia, I think it's time to protect them."
Grassland Earless Dragon in Canberra by Joshua, age 10
"The Grassland Earless Dragon is supposed to be in NSW, ACT and Victoria but now that the species in Victoria are now likely extinct, the population is getting smaller as the last spotted species in Victoria being over 50 years ago, grasslands, where these wonders live, must be protected. The reason I chose this living wonder is because of the fact that there are so little of them left in the wild, which really makes me depressed. After all these years, the fate of these Grassland Earless Dragons are in our hands. There is only one thing to do: protect and value the environment."
A Koala's Worry by James, age 6
"This sad Koala is holding his tree, his home, safe for now but he is stuck in the bushfire. It is coming! He can feel the heat and see the flames flashing. He is so, so, so afraid of the fire and losing his home or his life. Who will help him? Will he survive? I chose to draw the Koala because it is a beautiful animal that is endangered. I am sad that the bushfires destroyed their homes."
The Superb Fairy Wren and the Scarlet Honeyeater by Hajera, age 10
The Superb Fairy Wren in all its mighty beauty, a blue forehead, a tail black mask and a dark blue throat poised on a tree branch and soon after a short tail and bright red body feathered friend joined in.
It was the meeting of the Superb Fairy Wren and the Scarlet Honeyeater discussing how humans could better look after their habitats.
They had fewer friends now than ever before due to land clearing and trees being cut at a speedy rate.
"If only humans planted more trees!", said the Fairy Wren, to which the Scarlet Honeyeater replied, "Yes and only cut those really necessary, then we wouldn't feel so alone."
The Growling Grassfrog by Inez, age 12
"It’s a cool, summer evening. The sounds of native wildlife echo around us. We are in our front garden, amongst native vegetation, searching for frogs on the edge of our dam. Moving aside the reeds, we hear a low growling sound. We can’t find out where it’s coming from, but it’s as if the sound is all around us. The Growling grass frog. Masters of camouflage. We search for ages, but all we hear is the low growling, circling us. We record the sound and research Growling grass frog habitats. I chose to create an artwork of a Growling grass frog because they are amazing, special animals, very hard to find and they live in my front yard. I hope that people can preserve enough of their habitat to help the Growling grass frogs survive. I know that I will certainly do my best to contribute to this!"
Black Summer Orphans by Scarlett, age 10
"Last year during the Black Summer bushfires I felt very sad about all the animals who got injured and died. So my brother and I learnt how to use the sewing machine and we made lots of pouches for all the baby animals. I actually made a pouch with the message “GET WELL SOON, LOVE SCARLETT”. I wondered what animal would be inside it. Drawing it in my painting made it easier to imagine. When Covid hit some people forgot about all the animals who got harmed and who are still getting hurt in bushfires. I made this artwork to remind people that there are animals who are still injured. I hope my painting will inspire people to keep protecting our wonderful wildlife. and they have been cared for by humans. In my artwork I enjoyed using a variety of materials. I used: acrylic paint, fabric, felt tip markers, and pastel pencils. I also made an acrostic poem about Black Summer:
Ash falling from the sky
Koalas joeys with burnt paws
Six million hectares of animal habitats burnt
Man made disaster
Endangered animals killed
I'm disappearing - The Growling Grass Frog by Jasmine, age 10
"I had not heard of the Growling Grass Frog and was surprised to see that he calls my local council home. Armed with this knowledge, I went to the local frog rehabilitation area to listen for his iconic call - crawark-crawark-crok-crok. Sadly, I did not hear him but will be on the mission to find him. I am looking forward to spring as his calls are more frequent after rain in spring, summer and autumn. I want to raise awareness of this warty frog that calls my local area home and stop him from disappearing completely."
Trashy turtles by Hunter, age 7
"Hunter's nickname is Turtle he hasn't got a favourite because he loves them all but thinks loggerheads are super cute. Hunter collects rubbish from the beach and local parks every week the rubbish on his picture have all been collected from parks water reserves and surrounding beaches by Hunter the turtle eggs are Styrofoam balls that took Hunter 7hours to collect from the marina over 3days he picked over 3000 in total. Hunter has autism and OCD which I think heightens his passion for the ocean and marine life. His picture is about making people aware of the rubbish in our ocean and the effect it's causing our turtles and marine life. Hunter has collected 1000s of micro plastics, lots of beach rope, bottles, cans and has even repurposed beach toys, hard hats and found a wedding ring that had been lost for 2years. Hunter helps out with sea shepherd beach cleans, #take3forthesea movement has even featured in tangaroa national magazine for helping remove 2.5ute loads of rubbish of Point Anne beach over a long weekend. Hunter is very passionate enthusiastic beach cleaning little warrior."
ACF and Forestmedia Network would like to thank every child who took part in the 2021 Wild At Art threatened species art competition. You are all winners!
Header artwork: Aden, 2019 finalist