Art Rescuing Creatures

Reyna Marshall of Tucson, Arizona, is one of the Center's youngest and most active supporters — not to mention a notable donor.

Equal parts artist and endangered-species activist, Reyna has "always loved animals and plants, and has always helped them in whatever way [she] can." Along with her artist father, she's loved making art since she could first pick up a crayon — as long as she can remember, anyway.

So it was only natural that in 2014, at just 7 years old, she came up with the idea of combining art and saving species: She would organize and host an endangered species art auction — selling paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that she and her friends made (mostly depicting animals, plants and the natural world) and donating the money to the most effective local endangered species group she (and her father, Joe) could think of. Luckily for us, they chose the Center for Biological Diversity (headquartered in Reyna's hometown).

The idea — which hatched into a show called "Kids A.R.C." (short for "Art Rescuing Creatures") — turned out to be ingenious. In just one night Reyna and her friends sold more than $400 worth of art to the highest bidders, all of which went directly to the Center.

It was such a success that Reyna (with some help from her friend Thackery Wensel-Kanne, her father, and Tucson's Tiny Town Gallery) organized another art fundraiser two years later in March 2016 — this time opting for a simple sale rather than an auction. The event again raised hundreds of dollars for the Center.

As locals browsed kids' art (and cool stickers made by Tanline Printing), Reyna spent a lot of time at the Center's information table looking at photos of endangered species and showing her impressive knowledge of them — she could name almost every species in one of the Center's books just by sight.

Is Reyna alone in her youthful dedication to saving endangered species? She thinks not, since her friends embody that dedication, too.

How can we get even more young people to care about conservation?

Says Reyna: "Tell them that the human race has only done things to help themselves, and we need to think about all life on the planet. ... Humans caused the problem with the environment, and we need animals and plants to survive."

Wise words! The Center is very grateful to Reyna, Thackery, and their friends and family, and we look forward to the next A.R.C. art sale.

Check out some photos of the most recent sale at this 2016 event webpage.

Want to share your story in our Activist Spotlight?
A sea change can begin with an endangered species-loving young artist — or maybe it can begin with you. If you or someone you know has found a creative way to turn concern for the planet — and for endangered plants and animals — into change for the better, we'd like to share your story with the world. Send us your spotlight idea here.

Check out other activists we've honored.

Visit our Generation Wild website.

Banner photo © Robin Silver