Photo courtesy of OdySea Aquarium
Scottsdale’s OdySea Aquarium announced 5-year-old Albie Thomas of North Phoenix as one of their five winners of its third annual Conservation Art Challenge. Thomas showcased his talent and dedication to the environment by creating a stunning work of art representing a humphead wrasse by using coffee pods, cardboard, and bubble wrap.
The Conservation Art Challenge had children aged 12 and under create a work of art in the form of an animal, preferably an endangered species, from recycled materials to celebrate World Endangered Species Day and World Oceans Day.
Every child who entered the Challenge with artwork received a complimentary child’s general admission ticket to the aquarium. This year, OdySea received 587 entries from children all over the Valley. Thomas was one of five to be voted as a top submission for his creation. As a winner, Thomas and his immediate family were invited back to OdySea Aquarium for an exclusive celebration that took place in the aquarium’s special VIP Room, honoring his outstanding artistic contributions.
Thomas and the other winners were each awarded a one-of-a-kind painting created by an OdySea Aquarium cownose stingray using a special apparatus that allows them to paint on canvas. Painting gives the stingrays a form of enrichment, which encourages the animals to exercise control and choice in their environment, enhancing their overall wellbeing.
All the lucky winners were then paid a visit from animal ambassador Sedona, a female African penguin. Sedona was accompanied by a knowledgeable OdySea Aquarium animal care specialist who answered questions and shared fun penguin facts. Thomas and his family posed for photos with the adorable Sedona, making this a memorable experience not soon forgotten.
The Conservation Art Challenge fosters creativity and raises awareness about the importance of conservation. OdySea Aquarium commends Thomas for his understanding of the significance of keeping the environment and wildlife safe.