Canvas for Conservation

Canvas for Conservation


This free fall and winter program engages high school art classes with Lincoln Park Zoo’s conservation initiatives and gives students the opportunity to spread awareness of conservation efforts using student-created artwork. Canvas for Conservation emphasizes the importance of empathy and creativity in motivating an audience to make behavior changes on behalf of threatened species. At the beginning of the program, art classes will meet digitally with zoo educators to learn about a preselected animal species and Lincoln Park Zoo conservation efforts. Toward the end, each classroom will receive a digital gallery representing their work.

Support the Artists

Want to support artists in the Canvas for Conservation program? Head to this link to purchase student artwork featured on t-shirts, reusable travel mugs, tote bags, and more!

More Info

What Is Expected?

Throughout the course of the program, students will:

  • Discuss the conservation challenges facing a species and the role empathy can play in motivating people to act on behalf of wildlife
  • Create original artwork with the intention of motivating their audience to act on behalf of wildlife
  • Write an artist statement to accompany their work
  • Showcase their original work in a digital gallery setting

Throughout the course of the program, teachers will:

  • Attend a digital teachers workshop at the beginning of the program to discuss logistics and meet other partnering teachers and zoo educators
  • Schedule a time Lincoln Park Zoo staff can digitally meet with their class to discuss the zoo’s conservation efforts, endangered species. and the role empathy can play in conservation
  • Support students as needed in completing their artwork
  • Continue the conversation surrounding the role empathy can play in conservation

What Is Provided?

Lincoln Park Zoo staff view this program as a true partnership and collaboration between teachers, zoo staff, and students. The following resources are provided to best support teachers:

  • Expertise and input from Lincoln Park Zoo Learning staff
  • Resources to support student art creation
  • Educational resources to continue the conversation conservation throughout the program

Program Components

Canvas for Conservation is committed to amplifying youth perspectives in relation to conservation by sharing their art with a wider audience. To accomplish this goal, the program consists of four key components:

Component 1: Teacher Workshop (October)

To kick off the Canvas for Conservation season, art teachers will meet with zoo educators digitally to discuss animal content, brainstorm ideas for possible collaboration, and plan for the culminating celebration at the end of the program.

Component 2: Learning Session (November–December)

Students will meet digitally with Lincoln Park Zoo educators to learn about the conservation challenges facing species and have a discussion about the role empathy can play in conservation.

Component 3: Classroom Work (December–February)

After meeting with Lincoln Park Zoo educators, students will complete an original piece that will be ready to submit for the culminating celebration’s online gallery.

Component 4: Culminating Celebration (January–February)

Each classroom will receive a digital gallery representing their work. Teachers, students, and zoo staff will then vote for artwork awards. There will be a culminating celebration to recognize exceptional artworks.

How To Apply

To apply for the program, new teachers must fill out the application. Chicago art teachers of all disciplines are welcome. To be eligible, schools must be from the city of Chicago.

All applications must be received by September 30.

Apply Now

Alumni Teachers

Returning Canvas for Conservation teachers do not need to reapply to the program. Zoo staff will reach out at the start of the school year to confirm your interest in participating for another year.


For more information on Canvas for Conservation, call 312-465-6227 or email

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