For Release:
Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Invasive Species Council
Contact: Staci Lehman
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

OLYMPIA–The Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) invite high school-age artists to participate in an art contest that will help spread the word about not spreading invasive species.

Invasive species are plants, animals, and other organisms that don’t naturally live in Washington and, when brought here, can cause economic and environmental harm. Invasive species can outcompete native species for food and habitat and may even eat native species. Once established, they can proliferate and cost a lot of money to control, as well as negatively impact utility, agriculture and tourism industries.

The winning art from this contest will adorn WDFW’s new trailer that travels around Washington state and the Northwest to bring attention to invasive species and their spread.

“Staff from both WDFW and WISC travel to many communities to educate people about the dangers of spreading these species from one water body to another,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of WISC. “This trailer will allow them to do that more effectively and bring attention to the issue with its eye-catching art.”

The art contest runs now through Dec. 31. Submissions are required to be in a digital art format, such as graphic designs, photographs, illustrations, cartoons, digital paintings and more. Submissions must include pictures or information on one or more species that could be, or has been, introduced into the area, such as quagga and zebra mussels, European green crabs, Eurasian watermilfoil, northern pike, New Zealand mud snails and more.

“Those are some of the invasive species of most concern that can be introduced or spread, but there are many others,” said Allen Pleus, WDFW’s aquatic invasive species unit manager. “We have worked hard to prevent impacts from these species and are happy to have an additional tool, the trailer, to bring our message to the public.”

In addition to having the design made into a trailer wrap, the winner will receive a $500 Amazon gift card. A second-place winner will receive a $300 Amazon gift card. Entries will be displayed on the WISC and WDFW websites. For full contest rules, design dimensions and inspiration, visit either the WISC or WDFW invasive species pages.

For more information on invasive species in Washington, visit the WISC website.