Conserve Wildlife Blog

Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest Winners Gather for a Special Awards Ceremony

June 19th, 2024

by Rachel McGovern, Director of Education

Winners of the 22nd annual Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest gathered to celebrate their accomplishments at an awards ceremony on June 12, 2024, at Mercer County Wildlife Center in Lambertville, New Jersey.

The Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest is open each year to all fifth graders in New Jersey. To enter, students choose a threatened or endangered New Jersey species which they research and advocate for through an original essay and art piece. Earlier this year, a panel of judges convened to choose a first and second-place winner from each New Jersey county.

The ceremony was held outdoors at the Mercer County Wildlife Center

This year’s first-place winners joined CWF’s Executive Director, Liz Silvernail, and Director of Education, Rachel McGovern for their awards ceremony. Students received certificates and had their art and essays displayed for attendees to view. The winner from Mercer County (Vedika Krishna from Stony Brook Elementary School in Pennington) also received a special prize from Mercer County Park Commission’s Acting Executive Director, Joseph Pizza during the ceremony.

From left: Rachel McGovern, CWF Director of Education; Liz Silvernail, CWF Executive Director; Vedika Krishna, first-place winner from Mercer County; Joseph Pizza, Acting Executive Director of the Mercer County Park Commission

Winning entries focused on a wide range of species, from tiny invertebrates to large whales. The most common species chosen this year was the golden-winged warbler. We had several entries celebrating this species and chose three of them as winners!

The ceremony was held in Mercer County Wildlife Center’s Outdoor Education Area, which is the home to fifteen permanent residents. Contest winners and their special guests enjoyed walking through this space and visiting these non-releasable animals in their enclosures.

Ceremony attendees walk through the Mercer County Wildlife Center’s Outdoor Education Area

We thank our sponsors for their generous support of this contest: PSEG Foundation, Atlantic City Electric, Church & Dwight, NJEA, Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery, and Zoological Society of New Jersey.


Please enjoy viewing the winning artwork from this year’s
Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest

Congratulations to all of the first and second-place winners of the
2024 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest!

Atlantic County
First Place – Mia Ann Dare (Belhaven Middle School)
Second Place – Alexa Buck (Reeds Road School)

Bergen County
First Place – Sienna Hahm (Primoris Academy)
Second Place – Sylvia Eliya (Highland Elementary School)

Burlington County
First Place – Lillian Angemi (Westfield Friends School)
Second Place – Ava Burdick (Eastampton Community School)

Camden County
First Place – Kinley Potts (Joyce Kilmer Elementary School)
Second Place – Wiktoria Wronski (John H. Glenn Elementary School)

Cape May County
First Place – Avery Fine (Dennis Township Elementary School)
Second Place – Brendan Peoples (Wildwood Catholic Academy)

Cumberland County
First Place – Eriana Perez (Compass Academy Charter School)
Second Place – Logan Flitcraft (Compass Academy Charter School)

Essex County
First Place – Geneva Gau (Yantacaw Elementary School)
Second Place – Maya Gutierrez Almeida (Oliver Street School)

Gloucester County
First Place – Cameron Clark (Williamstown Middle School)
Second Place – Kate Hathaway (Williamstown Middle School)

Hudson County
First Place – Ameer Khaled Rochdi (Miftaahul Uloom Academy)
Second Place – Yousef Elnomany (Miftaahul Uloom Academy)

Hunterdon County
First Place – Giuliana Martinez (Thomas B. Conley Elementary School)
Second Place – Gryphon Benjamin (Thomas B. Conley Elementary School)

Mercer County
First Place – Vedika Krishna (Stony Brook Elementary School)
Second Place – Samantha Lieu (Toll Gate Grammar School)

Middlesex County
First Place – Isara Chen Durek (James Madison Intermediate School)
Second Place – Aaradhya Sripadi (Menlo Park Elementary School)

Monmouth County
First Place – Lindsy Jimenez Garcia (Gregory School)
Second Place – Silla Mosera (Maple Place Middle School)

Morris County
First Place – Vorora Xu (Stonybrook Elementary School)
Second Place – Jake Johnson (Stonybrook Elementary School)

Ocean County
First Place – Joseph Santiago-Sanchez (Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School)
Second Place – Liam Normandin (Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School)

Passaic County
First Place – Vihaan Gandhi (Clifton School #9)
Second Place – Addison Alvarez (Clifton School #9)

Salem County
First Place – Chase Gearhart (Creativity CoLaboratory Charter School)
Second Place – Layla Falen (Creativity CoLaboratory Charter School)

Somerset County
First Place – Isabella Santibanez (School of Saint Elizabeth)
Second Place – Anishka Suhas (Mt. Horeb School)

Sussex County
First Place – Lily Ryan (Lounsberry Hollow School)
Second Place – Tyler Hitchmough (Sandyston-Walpack Consolidated School)

Union County
First Place – Chelsea Li (Jefferson Elementary School)
Second Place – Wren Malester-Poris (Thomas P. Hughes Elementary School)

Warren County
First Place – Kate Tipton (Harmony Township School)
Second Place – Patricia Galione (Ridge and Valley Charter School)

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