The winners of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest are talented artists who know a charismatic endangered species when they see one. Just check out Anisha Kundu’s humpback whale:

Kevin Huo’s albatross:

Stormy Ocean Wandering Albatross


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MemoRee’ Plaisance’s jaguar:

And Hannah Chacko’s garter snake:

That last one is in the kindergarten through second grade category! At that age I was just glueing cotton balls to paper.

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But it takes a special sort of artistic insight to find beauty in an insect that most would find repellant. Kindergartener (kindergartener!!!) Ava Bribiesco decided she wanted to depict American burying beetles — the weird carrion beetles that once scoured the continent for carcasses to embalm, bury, and feed to their young and that now live in only small areas of the Midwest:

She won the grand prize and our total respect.