Two local fifth graders win art and essay contest

One winner from each county was selected in New Jersey

Species on the Edge Art and Essay Contest encourages fifth grade students to advocate for a species that is either endangered or on the verge of being endangered in New Jersey.

After researching and writing an essay and creating original artwork, Avellin Wells and Seamus McGinty from J. Mason Tomlin Elementary were announced as winners of the contest in  Gloucester County. One winner from each county was selected in the state.

“I picked the golden-winged warbler because it looked interesting and none of my classmates were picking it,” said Wells, who placed first in Gloucester County. Her favorite part of the drawing is the winged warbler flying over trees and stumps. 

Contest winners who submitted their artwork electronically will receive an envelope with prepaid postage so they can mail their drawings to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey for inclusion in their calendar and statewide art exhibitions. One winner from each county was selected.

Runner-up McGinty chose to draw a blue-spotted Salamander in its natural habitat because he likes amphibians, and it was the first one on the endangered list that jumped out at him. 

“It took me about four or five hours to draw,” he recalled.

The lists of New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife animals are preserved by the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP). They are often used to determine conservation and management actions needed to guarantee the survival and safety of New Jersey’s endangered, threatened, and other wildlife animals.

Endangered animals on the list include the bald Eagle, Timber rattlesnake, and the aforementioned blue-spotted Salamander drawn by McGinty. Threatened species on the list include the redheaded woodpecker, robust baskettail dragonfly, and barred owl.

For more information about the program, or to report a sighting of endangered or threatened wildlife, contact the Endangered and Nongame Species, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Mail Code 501-03, P.O. Box 420, Trenton.