Restore the Wild Artwork 2022 Contest Winners Are Chosen

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Restore the Wild Artwork competition. A panel of judges chose winners in the Fine Art Print, Youth and “What Restore the Wild Means to Me” categories as artwork to be used throughout 2022 to help further the mission of Restore the Wild. Artwork in the Fine Art and Children’s categories depicts the 2022 Restore the Wild target species, the Loggerhead Shrike, to help draw attention to the bird’s need to expand its habitat.

“We are extremely grateful to all of the talented artists who took the time to enter the competition. It was a joy to see so many lovely and creative pieces celebrating the Loggerhead Shrike and other Virginian wildlife. winners we ultimately selected stood out not only for their skillful and artistic renderings of their species and habitats, but also for their clear and creative communication of the Restore the Wild theme and mission. migrating and other Virginia wildlife that thrive in their natural, native habitats and that’s what it’s all about!”

Virginia Cannicci’s watercolor and graphic pencil depiction of a Loggerhead Shrike topped the Fine Art Print category. His winning piece will be reproduced as a new art print given as a gift to Golden Eagle level members of Restore the Wild. “I was inspired to enter the contest when I saw the Loggerhead Shrike as a subject because I had never heard of this species before,” said Cannicci, of Elkton, Virginia. “I researched online to find out a lot more about them and their habitat. I thought more people should be made aware of this interesting bird and that it is an endangered species.

Virginia Cannicci – Winner of the Fine Art Print category

Cannicci’s son had volunteered for DWR through the trout stocking program and alerted her to the Restore the Wild Artwork contest. “I haven’t been involved in any conservation work myself, but as an avid gardener I try to keep my 10 acres planted with native species that may benefit native birds, animals or insects” , Cannicci said. “I am extremely honored to have been chosen as the winner of the Fine Arts category.”

The competition’s Youth category winner, Ava Chiu, expresses her passion for wildlife conservation through her art. Chiu, a high school student from Springfield, Va., says she was inspired to enter the artwork contest because of the goals of the Restore the Wild initiative, which are to preserve, maintain and create a wildlife habitat. Chiu’s gouache painting depicts a Loggerhead Shrike and its nest in a hawthorn tree. “My inspiration for this piece was ‘protection,'” Chiu said. “It symbolizes Restore the Wildlife’s mission to protect and restore natural habitats as well as its hopes and journey.

Ava Chiu – Youth Category Winner

“Due to declining population, habitat, and increasing threats to Loggerhead Shrike habitats, I have decided to include the thorns and leaves that surrounded the Loggerhead Shrike” , Chiu continued. “These thorns and leaves create intimate and natural protection for the bird. The birds are threatened by habitat loss, represented by muted withered leaves. However, with DWR’s missions to restore their natural habitats, we hope to protect their thriving future for many generations to come.

Jessica Wood’s painting of a Loggerhead Shrike, which earned an honorable mention in the Fine Art Print category, also shows the bird within a cockspur hawthorn. His winning piece will be featured on a commemorative Restore the Wild sticker given out to all Restore the Wild members. “The choice of tree is also part of the bird’s preferred habitat. Hawthorn’s spurs suggest this fascinating passerine bird’s habit of impaling prey on the spines for consumption or as a means of storing food for later,” Wood said.

Jessica Wood – Honorable Mention in the Fine Art Print category

Wood, of Crozet, Virginia, is an experienced artist and enthusiastic curator. A master naturalist from Virginia, she has worked with several organizations to plant riparian buffers, clear trails, remove invasive plant species, and assist with stream cleanup efforts such as the Clean the Bay Day of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Al Bryan of North Chesterfield, Virginia created a piece that depicts “What Restore the Wild Means to Me” and includes a variety of species native to Virginia. “I entered the Restore the Wild Artwork competition to raise awareness about being good stewards of our lands and waterways that support flora and fauna and our quality of life,” said Bryan, who works as a landscape architect.

Al Bryan – Category Winner What Restores the Wild Means to Me

The Restore the Wild Committee was delighted to see the quality and variety of entries in this year’s artwork competition, which called on the public to submit entries that reflect Restore the Wild’s mission to restore and create natural habitats vital to the survival of Virginia wildlife. The subject of the 2022 artwork is the Loggerhead Shrike, a state-threatened bird species that has been identified as a Tier 1 species in greatest need of conservation in the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan. Loggerhead Shrikes are extraordinary birds that hunt invertebrate prey and small vertebrates from both natural and artificial perches, including trees, shrubs, power lines, fence posts, and more. shrubs, sharp broken branches and barbed wire. Judges evaluated the works not only on their artistic merit, but also on their accuracy in depicting the physical features and habitat of the species, and on their adherence to the theme of Restore the Wild.

View All 2022 Restore the Wild Artwork Contest Entries.

Virginia has more than 900 species of wildlife whose numbers are in decline, primarily due to impacts on their habitat – natural areas that provide needed food, water, and shelter. DWR is Virginia’s lead agency for wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation. DWR’s Restore the Wild initiative allows DWR to expand the work done by the agency to preserve, establish, and maintain vital wildlife habitat areas and keep Virginia’s wild places wild. Memberships and donations to Restore the Wild, as well as revenue generated from the Run for the Wild 5K virtual run/walk, provide funds directly to DWR habitat projects.

The first two years of Restore the Wild raised over $75,000 in membership funds, donations and Run for the Wild registrations. The funds were used immediately to support DWR habitat projects across the state, directly benefiting the habitat of many species of wildlife. The initiative has funded over 258 acres of habitat restoration in Virginia. The winning entries from the artwork contest will be used to help promote Restore the Wild’s mission throughout 2022.

Learn more about DWRs Restore the Wild Initiative and consider becoming a member or making a donation to help restore and maintain critical wildlife habitat in Virginia.

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