(The Center Square) — Washington high schoolers can win up to $500 from the Department of Fish and Wildlife in a digital art contest featuring invasive species, cosponsored with Washington Invasive Species Council.
The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness about plants, animals, and other organisms that originate outside the state and disrupt the natural environment causing environmental and economic harm.
Exotic species often outcompete native plants and animals and are costly to control.
Examples of invasive species include the Egyptian grasshopper, recently sighted in Everett; the giant Atlas moth with a wingspan up to 10-inches, which was seen in Bellevue in July; the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has decimated ash tree populations in 35 states and was sighted near Vancouver, in July; and the European green crab, which multiplied over 5,000% in Puget Sound last year, prompting Gov. Jay Inslee in January to order that emergency measures be taken to eradicate it.
Winning art entries will be used to decorate a WDFW trailer that will travel the state to raise awareness of nonnative species. The trailer will also include pictures of WDFW’s invasive mussel-sniffing dogs Puddles and Fin.
“Staff from both WDFW and WISC travel to many communities to educate people about the dangers of spreading these species from one area to another,” Justin Bush, executive coordinator of WISC said in a statement. “This trailer will allow them to do that more effectively and bring attention to the issue with its eye-catching art.”
The contest is open through Dec. 31. Submissions must be in a digital art format and can include graphic designs, photographs, illustrations, cartoons, digital paintings, or other digital art forms.
Each submission must include pictures or information on one or more nonnative species that has been or could be introduced to the region. A list of invasive species can be found on the WISC website.
The first-place winner will receive a $500 Amazon gift card. A second-place winner will receive a $300 Amazon gift card. Other entries will be viewable on the websites of the WISC and WDFW.