The North Alabama Zoological Society EduZoocation is pleased to announce our 2021 Alabama Biodiversity Youth Art Contest, which is open to K-12 grade students—residing in the U.S.–including those who are homeschooled or belong to a youth/art program. The contest is an integral part of our education on the vast biodiversity in our lovely state.


Subject Matter

To be eligible, students’ artwork must depict a land or ocean-dwelling species that either lives in or migrates throughout Alabama and its waterways, or a plant/flower that is native to the State of Alabama, You can choose a species from one of these four groups:

  • Vertebrates

  • Invertebrates

  • Flowering Plants

  • Non-Flowering Plants

Judges particularly appreciate artwork showing species in their habitats. Don’t forget about the plants that support all life!

Artwork Guidelines

Students’ artwork must be original. Computer-generated images and traced images will not be judged. It is critical that submitted artwork not be overly derivative of images found on the Internet, in print media, or elsewhere. To avoid copyright infringement, works thought to be copies will be disqualified.

Students participating in the contest should compose their chosen subject on an 16X20 or smaller.

Media: We can accept artwork done in crayon, ink, acrylics, oil paint, pastels, watercolor, colored pencils, scratchboard, color marker, chalk, pastels, charcoal, mixed media, or paper collage. We cannot accept artwork done using plain black pencil or weak colored pencil.

No lettering, words, signatures, or any other markings may appear on the front of the artwork. This includes labeling the depicted species, writing one’s name, or a signature. Lettering that is creatively incorporated into the art (such as a posted sign) is allowed. Submissions that include prohibited writing will not be judged.

All art must be submitted digitally. To ensure the image best represents your artwork, avoid including distracting background such as your hand (holding the art) or a frame/mat that reduces the overall image. Also, please orient the artwork in the correct direction before submitting.

All artwork becomes the property of the North Alabama Zoological Society. Submission of the artwork grants the NALZS a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to publish your student’s/child’s artwork in and on NALZS editorial, educational, and promotional print and digital materials, in our promotional and educational posts to social media, and for all other lawful uses—including artwork print sales—in furtherance of the Society’s mission. All published artwork will be credited with a copyright notice in the following form: “c Artist’s Name.”

Submitting Artwork

Artwork should be submitted electronically at www.nalzs.org/2021-art-contest. It must be at least 3300×2550 pixels resolution and smaller than 15 MB.

Follow directions carefully and provide all information requested on the submission form. File must be labeled first name of artist an underscore and with Title of artwork: (i.e. taylor_manateecoast.jpg or taylor_manateecoast.png)

You must submit your artwork by the last Friday of the month (i.e. Jan 29, 2021) and the very last day of the contest is April 9th. Late entries will be judged in the next month's cycle.

Art teachers who may wish to submit a batch of artwork please see details at in the Teachers Packet. A grading rubric is included for your convenience.


A panel of judges will select winners in four categories: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. There will be monthly category winners and one overall grand prize winner that will be chosen from the monthly winners. The grand prize winner will be selected in April 2021 from the four grade-level winners. In choosing the grand prize winner, judges pay particular attention to the concept or story that the artwork tells. We encourage artists to pay attention to the theme, Alabama Biodiversity.

The art will be judged on five primary artistic elements:

  1. Creativity: How well does the work express individual creativity?

  2. Concept: How well does the work relate to the biodiversity theme?

  3. Composition and Color: How well do the elements of line and form work together? How does color enhance the artwork?

  4. Craftsmanship: How well the work/ concept was executed?

  5. Expression: How imaginatively does the work convey an idea or emotion?


Each month a winner will be chosen in each category (see above) and their work will be showcased on our social media platforms, hard copies will be displayed in upcoming NALZS Community Outreach and will be saved to be used on our NALZS event announcements. Winners will need to submit the original artwork to the NALZS prior to receiving prizes. An email will be sent to each winner with instructions and terms.

Grand Prize: The grand prize-winner will receive award plaque, and dedicated showcase in the NALZS exhibit at Huntsville Panoply Art Festival (or other Art Exhibit, as applicable) and $50 gift card from one of our sponsors. In order to provide a competitive opportunity for as many youths as possible, the grand prize winner is not eligible to win again for three years.

Monthly-Grade Category Prizes: Each of the grade-level winners will receive a certificate, and their art will be featured in an ad for our “A Zoo for You, North Alabama” Campaign and be featured on our Education website.