Public invited to submit art highlighting dangers of releasing pets and plants into the wild


April 22, 2021

The Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) invite artists of all ages to participate in an art contest through May 14 as part of the “Don’t Let it Loose” campaign. The campaign explains the dangers of releasing unwanted pets and plants into the wild and highlights other ways to rehome them.

Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that cause economic or environmental harm and could spread to new areas of the state. Invasive species can out-compete and overwhelm local species, disrupting entire ecological systems.

“Prevention is the most effective and cheapest tool we have when it comes to managing invasive species,” said Allen Pleus, WDFW’s aquatic invasive species manager. “By helping to spread the message of “Don’t Let it Loose,” artists can help educate others that a seemingly small action can have a big impact on our environment and economy.”

The recent detection of invasive mussels in aquarium moss balls, it is especially important to remember that people should not release pets or dump aquarium water or plants into the wild.

The contest runs now through Friday, May 14. Art should depict pets or plants that people might release into Washington’s waters, parks, and wildlands. Entries should convey that releasing invasive species can harm the state’s native plants and animals and include explanations or illustrations showing other options to rehome unwanted pets or plants.

Artists can submit a wide range of entries, including drawing, photography, dance, music, and more. Winners will receive an award, ranging from stickers to gift cards, and have their entries displayed on the Washington Invasive Species Council and WDFW websites. For full contest rules and inspiration, visit the council’s website.

For more information on the Washington Invasive Species Council, visit


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