The New York Wildlife 2024 project celebrates the rich and diverse wildlife inhabiting urban New York and New York State. The project raises awareness of over 130 species, including vulnerable species, and raises funds for local conservation organisations.

Led by artist and Drawing for the Planet founder and CEO Jane Lee McCracken, children from Riverdale Country School and P.S. 49 The Willis Avenue School are invited to learn about and create ballpoint pen drawings of local wildlife in workshops delivered by Jane and project ambassador Kaitlyn Helf between February 27 and March 1, 2024. As part of the project Jane will create a composite artwork featuring the children’s drawings. Drawing for the Planet (DftP) will present printed murals of the artwork to both schools in summer, 2024. DftP will donate project funds to the following local conservation organizations:

The children’s drawings will also be featured on this page. A selection of drawings will illustrate species information — as in DftP’s Laguna Marine Wildlife 2023 project page. During the workshops children will learn about local species, the biodiversity crisis, why wildlife is important to humans and our planet, and simple key actions we can all take to save Earth’s remaining wildlife.

The New York Wildlife project aims to:

  • Raise awareness of local species including vulnerable species’, and the importance of protecting wildlife and its habitats in New York.
  • Create an artistic and educational legacy for the drawings of a generation of young New Yorkers.
  • Encourage love, compassion, and respect for individual species; the growth of collective responsibility towards nature and conservation, both locally and globally; give children, communities, and wildlife a voice.
  • Donate to local conservation organizations to support their vital work rehabilitating and protecting wildlife and habitats.

Jane created the New York Wildlife project in 2024 following an enquiry from Kaitlyn Helf offering to support DftP in whatever way she could. Kaitlyn was invited to become project ambassador and has assisted with research and the planning and execution of the workshops. Jane and Kaitlyn are delighted to be working with teachers Ms. Sophia Spector, Riverdale, and Ms. Erica Jones, P.S.49 The Willis Avenue School. The project is part of DftP’s global environmental education and art project program.

Jane said:

“I am overjoyed to be back in New York, a city I deeply admire, to lead the New York Wildlife project and work with our dedicated Project Ambassador, Kaitlyn Helf, and young artists from such inspirational schools. I can’t wait to make an artwork featuring their drawings which will help raise awareness of the unexpected richness and variety of the wildlife New Yorkers are fortunate to have as neighbours.

Through this environmental education and drawing project which provides the opportunity of self-expression, I hope to generate individual compassion towards animals and the environment while encouraging collective responsibility to further cherish and conserve the planet’s remaining wildlife for future generations: if we care we want to conserve.

Heartfelt thanks to our kind donors who have generously funded this project, and enabled DftP to donate to four incredible New York conservation organizations.”

Kaitlyn said:

"I am thrilled to be part of the team, as DftP represents a unique intersection of my interests. Raising awareness about the importance of preserving animals in the wild and urban cities is essential.”