Texas Fish Art Contest Unveils 2024 Winners

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ATHENS – The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) is pleased to announce the 2024 winners of the Texas division of the Wildlife Forever’s Fish Art Contest.

The Fish Art Contest is part of an international conservation education program designed to foster youth interest in fish, fisheries and fishing. The program encourages K-12 students to submit original artwork of any fish and an essay or poem (grades 4-12) about the participant’s fish entry, its habitat or efforts to conserve it.

“The Fish Art Contest does a tremendous job of exposing students across Texas to the wonders of fish and fisheries resources through the nexus of art,” said Tom Lang, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center director. “We always look forward to this time of year when we are once again amazed by the outstanding work and artistic interpretations of these young Texans.”

This year, judges at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center chose the top 12 out of 1,504 total entries. These top 12 works of art will be featured at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and in the 2025 Texas Fish Art Calendar.

In the K-3 category, the winners were: First place, Jessica Ding of Austin; second place, Yueran Lang of Austin; third place, Jane Han of Carrollton.

In the grades 4-6 category, the winners were: First place, Luke Zhang of Katy; second place, Kayla Tran of Wylie; third place, Yolanda Xiong of Flower Mound.

In the grades 7-9 category, the winners were: First place, Caroline Sullivan of Spring; second place, Elizabeth Naiser of Boerne; third place, Kai-Lin Hsu of Spring.

In the grades 10-12 category, the winners were: First place, Mia Macias of Pasadena; second place, Samara Estrada of Houston; third place, Dipper Deen of Fort Worth.

First place winners in each of the four age groups advance to the national level and compete against winners from other states.

Scholarships for the first, second and third place Texas winners are awarded as follows: grades 10–12 division scholarships are $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place; awards in the 4–6 and 7–9 grade levels are $200 for first, $150 for second, $100 for third; in the K-3 division awards are $100 for first, $75 for second, $50 for third.

Scholarships for Texas winners are supplemented by the William E. Armentrout Foundation and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

“We have a unique opportunity to celebrate the talents of our Texas students, our beautifully diverse fish species and the hard work of our biologists who protect these resources,” said Kate Barkalow, TFFC education and interpretation coordinator.

At the conclusion of the contest, the TFFC hosts a celebration for the state finalists, their teachers and families on Free Fishing Day. Due to facility renovations, this year the celebration will be held at the Tyler Nature Center.

“This celebration is an opportunity to recognize our students, their support systems and invite them to go fishing, some for the first time,” Barkalow said. “None of this would be possible without the help of our sponsors and teachers. We believe that through the Texas Fish Art Contest, a new generation of stewards is created.”

Honorable mentions in grades K-3 were awarded to: Nora Cheng of Austin; Katherine Du of Austin; Yehu Lee of Denton; Isabella Wang of Southlake; Shiyu Yuan of Austin; and Olivia Zhang of Austin.

Honorable mentions in grades 4-6 were awarded to: Shachi Basak of Irving; Jennifer Ding of Austin; Max Li of Coppell; Melinda Liu of Houston; Ethan Luo of Coppell; Violet Yu of San Antonio; Ivan Zaklyazminskiy of Frisco; and Devin Zheng of Buda.

Honorable mentions in grades 7-9 were awarded to: Kylie Duarte of Pasadena; Seha Jeong of Lewisville; Yinyun Ji of Houston; Moises Sandovall III of Amarillo; Avani Vankireddy of Copper Canyon; Emma Wu of Southlake; and Jiayu Jenny Wu of Sugar Land.

Honorable mentions for grades 10-12 were awarded to: Ethan Accardo of Houston; Jack Cimo of Fort Worth; Kate Lee of Euless; Kimberly Muro of Arlington; Alyssa Prins of Colleyville; Shaylen Thompson of Pasadena; and Kinereth Meraz Zelaya of Pasadena.

Educators who wish to have their students enter the 2025 contest can find entry forms, rules, guidelines and more online. A lesson plan offers interdisciplinary curriculum including lessons and activities, a species identification section profiling each state fish, a glossary and student worksheets. Learn more at www.wildlifeforever.org.

The Fish Art Contest is a project of Wildlife Forever. Located in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Wildlife Forever is a nonprofit multispecies conservation organization dedicated to conserving America’s wildlife heritage. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to “on-the-ground” efforts. Wildlife Forever supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research and management of fish and wildlife populations.

To view or download high resolution images of the winning artwork, visit the 2024 Fish Art Contest Album on the TPWD Flickr page.