Art Contest 2021

illustration National Fossil Day stamp with postmark

About the NFD Art Contest

Theme: “Prehistoric Life from our National Parks and Monuments”

The National Park Service and National Fossil Day partners are sponsoring an art contest to celebrate the 12th annual National Fossil Day. The 2021 National Fossil Day celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, October 13, 2021, during Earth Science Week. The theme for this year's art contest is: “Prehistoric Life from our National Parks and Monuments”. The National Park System covers a diverse range of sites that have a rich and unique fossil record. Some of these sites showcase their fossil heritage, such as Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado (Utah), Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona), and Big Bend National Park (Texas). Other sites have rich geologic records with multiple fossil-bearing horizons, such as Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), Badlands National Park (South Dakota), and Yellowstone National Park (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming). Several national monuments were established specifically to preserve the important fossil record including: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument (Nebraska), Fossil Butte National Monument (Wyoming), John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Oregon); Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (Nevada); and Waco Mammoth National Monument (Texas).

You will need to do a little research to learn about fossils from a particular national park. You can pick any fossil, specific prehistoric organism, prehistoric reconstruction, and/or a collage of all the above from any of the 279 National Park Service areas that have fossils, see our fossil parks list. (Is your favorite park on it?)

Please see below for contest guidelines.

Click here to download the art contest entry form.

Contest Guidelines

Who can enter?
The contest is open to any interested person, of all ages. Entries will be judged based on originality, creativity, and how well the submission addresses this year’s contest theme. You must be a resident of the United States to enter.

What should my artwork include?
Your artwork should focus on the art contest theme “Prehistoric Life from our National Parks and Monuments.” It can be one or more fossil representative, prehistoric organism, and/or prehistoric scene from one or more National Park Service sites but the artwork must include the name of the parks or monuments they come from. We would also like know why you chose that particular fossil and park as your subject in the statement you provide in the registration form.

There are multiple sites, types of fossils, and geologic ages to choose from ranging from Precambrian stromatolites of Glacier National Park, to Paleozoic marine fossils from Grand Canyon National Park and Mammoth Cave National Park, to Mesozoic reptiles from Dinosaur National Monument and dinosaur tracks from Denali National Park & Preserve, to Cenozoic mammals from Agate Fossil Beds National Monument and fossil plants and fish from Fossil Butte National Monument.

The artwork can be in the form of a photograph (black & white or color), a painting, a drawing, or a sketch. All artwork must be 2D and flat or digital.

Questions to help you get started...
What is the closest National Park or Monument near me? Does it have fossils? What is my favorite fossil or prehistoric creature? Can we find it at a National Park Service site? Do I want to focus on one type of fossil or show many? Do I have a favorite geologic age?

How large should the artwork be?
All physical artwork should be able to fit inside a 13"x 17" envelope or smaller. Digital entries must be at least between 300 to 600 DPI and in jpeg format.

What do I need to submit?
A valid submission will contain the following information:

  1. An original copy of the artwork. Each piece must be original, authentic, unpublished, the sole property of the entrant, and not previously submitted in any other contest. Make sure to include a sentence or two on your submission form describing your artwork. For digital entries, please scan or provide a high-quality digital photo of your piece showing the art entry (no background and/or showing individuals holding up the art entry). Digital photos of art entries must be clear, with consistent lighting, and no shadows.
  2. Your personal information, printed on either the back of your artwork or on a separate sheet attached to your physical artwork or provided with the e-mail for your digital entry:
  • First and last name:
  • Mailing address:
  • Phone number:
  • E-mail address:
  1. A completed and signed entry form. Print out the entry form here and send it to us when you send your artwork. Entries cannot be accepted without a signed entry form.

How should I submit my artwork and entry form?
Artwork must be either sent by mail, along with your contact information to the address below; or sent digitally with a pdf of the signed completed entry form to the e-mail address below.

Important: You must have a signed and completed entry form (if under 18, a parent or guardian must sign) to enter.

Physical entry forms may be submitted by mail along with your artwork. All mailed entry forms must be sent to:

National Fossil Day Art Contest
c/o Vincent L. Santucci
370 Montclair Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Digital entries with completed entry forms are emailed to:

When is the deadline?
All submissions must be received by mail or email by 5 p.m. EST, Friday, October 1st, 2021.

How will the artwork be judged?
The artwork will be judged by a panel on originality, creativity, quality and, most importantly, relevance to the topic. Four top entries in each age group will be selected including 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place and Honorable Mention. The age groups are:

  • 8 years old and under
  • 9 to 13 years of age
  • 14 to 18 years of age
  • 18 and older

The winner's artwork will appear on the National Fossil Day Art Contest Winners Gallery starting on October 13th, 2021. Check the National Fossil Day website to see if your artwork has been selected!

Disclaimer: By submitting an entry, an entrant agrees to allow the National Park Service to use his or her name to post on the NPS's National Fossil Day Web site, without compensation unless prohibited. All entries and all rights of ownership in and to the entries, including all rights to use, reproduce, publish, modify, edit, and distribute the same will become the exclusive property of NPS and will not be returned. NPS reserves the right to edit, modify, copyright, publish, use, and reproduce any and all entries without further compensation. The National Park Service, its agents and contractor, are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, or postage-due entries. Contest void where prohibited or restricted by law.