Where did all the Animals Go? 2021 by Jane Lee McCracken exhibits printed vinyls of original Biro drawings by over 600 children from North East and international schools, who participated in Jane’s workshops.

Main image and above © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

Through the visual art of drawing, one of the oldest forms of communication, these drawings portray some of the world’s most vulnerable species, many of which face extinction. Evocative and uninhibited, each portrait depicts an individual being that plays a vital role in its ecosystem, while contemplating what their eyes have seen. This exhibition provides an opportunity to form connections with each species, through the creative response of a generation of young people. Also on display are large format prints of Jane’s original Biro drawings Butterfly Lover and Khan.

© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

Founded in 2019, in partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free, and working with dynamic teams of educators and conservationists from England, Kenya, California, Guyana and Malaysia, Jane’s Where did all the Animals Go? Project aims to encourage the growth of collective responsibility towards wildlife conservation and welfare while giving children, communities and wildlife both locally and globally, a voice.

Amanda, Guyana © Jane Lee McCracken

Jane’s own practice explores loss generated by human destruction. She creates multi-layered Biro drawings, sculptures, installations and designs commercial products often featuring endangered species.

Born Free works tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs… opposing the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigning to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.

Jackson, Kenya © Jane Lee McCracken

Great North Museum: Hancock is located in the heart of Newcastle and holds a wealth of collections, including natural history, archaeology, geology and world cultures. The museum was purpose built in Newcastle as a natural history museum in 1884 to house the growing collections of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. The Where Did All The Animals Go? exhibition is on permanent display in the museum’s Living Planet Gallery, which contains many of the museum’s oldest and most-loved exhibits.

© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison


Following the Where Did All the Animals Go? (WDATAG?) 2019 pilot exhibition, over the last couple of years and throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Jane has worked with Born Free Education Team, Laura Gosset, Head of Education and Charlie Baker, Education Officer, the Great North Museum: Hancock Team and WDATAG? UK and international teams, co-ordinating the Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition.


Between October 2020 and April 2021 Jane created and delivered virtual and on site workshops to participating children from twenty schools (listed in Acknowledgements section below), including ten North East England and two California schools, and trained Outreach Teams in Guyana, Kenya and Malaysia to deliver her workshops.

California Wildlife virtual workshop, January 2021

Thanks to funding from Born Free, she was able to send all participating UK and international schools packs of colour Biro pens and paper. Despite the many hurdles the COVID-19 pandemic presented, eighteen of the twenty workshops and resulting drawings were completed by the end of April 2021. 

Each participating school was allocated a continent, region or country of species to draw, with international schools drawing species from their country or region. Working with Charlie Baker, they selected approximately 400 vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species along with a few other species that are near threatened or unclassified. 
 WDATAG? Digital Resource Book

Many species selected to draw were chosen directly from the museum’s collection in the Living Planet Gallery. Species were also selected not only for their drawing appeal but to resonate with visitors to the exhibition, with the aim of helping to create emotional connections with featured species and wildlife in general. Each school received a digital resource book designed by Jane, containing species information as well as images for children to use as inspiration for their drawings.


Image courtesy of Dr Meryl Batchelder: Abigail receiving tutoring from Jane during virtual workshop

Working with schools from across the North East, Jane delivered workshops to talented children from years 2 - 7. She allocated the following continents, countries and regions to these schools:

Y7 Royal Grammar School Newcastle: Asian species
Y2 Jarrow Cross C of E Primary School: African species
Y4 Mortimer Primary School, South Shields: Oceania species
Y3 & 4 St Mary Magdalen RC Primary School, Seaham: North American species
Y5 Our Lady & St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Newcastle: Arctic and Antarctic species
Y5 Bexhill Academy, Sunderland: South American species
Y7 Corbridge Middle School: Madagascan species
Y4 Beech Hill Primary School, Newcastle: Ocean species
Y4 Laurel Avenue Community Primary School, Durham: European species
Newcastle Bridges School, Great North Children's Hospital RVI: UK species

Oceania species by Y4 Mortimer Primary, South Shields © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

The majority of workshops were virtual, with equipment shipped to schools prior to the workshops after which she collected each child's precious drawing personally. Mortimer Primary was the first school to participate in a virtual workshop making drawings of Oceania species.

Jane delivered on site workshops to Laurel Avenue Community Primary, Durham and Beech Hill Primary and RGS, Newcastle. As virtual and onsite workshops were not feasible at Bridges RVI Hospital school due to COVID-19 and the children being confined to their wards with limited internet access, she created a workshop video for pupils to download. The school's art teacher Gillian Wrigglesworth visited each child's bedside and assisted them with their drawings. One of the school's new pupils, Lexi, loves art and was thrilled to have the opportunity to make several beautiful drawings of UK species. (see 2021 Gallery)


California Wildlife workshops, Laguna Beach, February 2020 © Jane Lee McCracken

The opportunity to work with schools in California arose from Jane’s visit to Laguna Beach in February 2020 where her cousin Dr Kirsten Rogers (WDATAG? PR) organised a series of Californian Wildlife workshops for Jane to deliver to Orange County residents. These included a workshop for children of the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach which assisted in the planning of international exhibition workshops.

Invited by the prestigious Laguna Art Museum (LAM) to participate in its annual Art & Nature festival, she also delivered a virtual Californian Wildlife workshop on 8 November 2020 for Orange County families. These drawings can be viewed in Wild Postcard Gallery: California Gallery.  Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education at LAM said of WDATAG? project:

"We loved being part of Jane’s wonderful and powerful project! Jane’s use of art to honour these beautiful animals is nothing short of transformative. Not only are the animals clearly present in the magnificent drawings, but so are the awe and admiration and concern of the artists. I know that Where Did All The Animals Go? will continue to be a force for good."

Drawings of Californian species by children of El Morro and Top of the World Elementary schools © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

In 2020 Kirsten and Danelle Hickman of Ocean Institute formed the California Outreach Team.  Californian Wildlife workshops for the exhibition were delivered by Jane, virtually in January 2021. In preparation for the workshops Kirsten and her daughters Nina and Rosie packaged individual sets of Biro packs and paper. Due to COVID-19 restrictions they set up a collection station outside their Laguna Beach home. Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal, PTA President, Top of the World Elementary and Liz Black, Family Engagement Chair, El Morro liaised with parents of participating children who then collected equipment prior to each workshop which they returned with completed drawings. The pen packs will be used for future WDATAG? workshops.

Top left to right: Nina and Rosie packing equipment; Rosie with her Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle drawing; Rosie setting up Collection Station 
Bottom Left to right: Ace with Midnight and Cookie, Lily and her Grey Wolf drawing, Taylor with her exhibited Humpback Whale drawing © Jane Lee McCracken

During the two hour virtual workshops, Jane provided individual tutoring for each child. Ace and Poppy’s Guinea Pigs Midnight and Pumpkin delighted participants with their presence. Lily was a little nervous of drawing but worked exceptionally hard to create her extraordinary drawing of a locally endangered Grey Wolf. Taylor's outstanding drawing of a Humpback Whale was selected for exhibition in OCArts4All.

Kirsten explained to Stu News Laguna Beach how Laguna school community joined in and supported WDATAG?

“By pure luck, I bumped into Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal (then PTA President of TOW) at the end of 2019, who mentioned that she was looking for enrichment classes for the Virtual Academy elementary students. Rolling forward in this story, we were able to provide four virtual workshops, not just for VA students but offered to all LBUSD elementary students in January this year. Parents kindly paid a fee of $20 per child and this covered our costs for the art supplies and a donation to a school for disabled children in Guyana, selected by Mayor Waneka of Linden, Guyana." Read the Stu News article here.


Image courtesy of Dr Kirsten Rogers: Kirsten and pupils of Linden High, Guyana

During her humanitarian mission in 2019 with the US Navy to administer dental treatment to communities in Guyana, Kirsten met with Mayor Waneka Arrindell of Linden. In 2020 following Jane's visit, Kirsten contacted Mayor Waneka to invite her to join WDATAG? Outreach Program and select Guyanan schools to participate in the exhibition.

Top left to right: Mayor Waneka Arrindell; Dr Raquel Thomas; Arianne Harris
Bottom Left to right: Micah Davis Iwokrama Head Ranger; Reshma Persaud; Lezlene Daniels; Leonie Edwards © Jane Lee McCracken

Mayor Waneka subsequently contacted Dr Raquel Thomas, Director of Iwokrama International Rainforest Centre and alongside the Mayor, Dr Thomas and her colleagues, Arianne Harris, Rehana Ragoobeer and Reshma Persaud formed the Guyana Outreach Team.

Arianne Harris with pupils from Kurupukari Primary School, Fairview © Jane Lee McCracken

Raquel, Arianne, Reshma and Iwokrama Rangers including Head Ranger Micah Davis, visited Kurupukari and MacKenzie Primary schools and Hauraruni Girls Orphanage, where Arianne, a biologist, talented artist and WDATAG? first Art Ambassador delivered the Guyana workshops achieving tremendous results. For many children of Kurupukari Primary School, situated in the indigenous village of Fairview, in the Iwokrama forest, this was their first art class. The ensuing drawings of rainforest species are astonishing.

Pupils of Kurupukari Primary, Fairview with their drawings; Arianne Harris delivering the Guyana Wildlife workshops © Jane Lee McCracken

Mayor Waneka Arrindell attended the MacKenzie Primary workshop with her children Mackayla and Micaiah, where she created her first ever Biro drawing, a beautiful portrait of a Guiana Spider Monkey.  It was an incredibly emotional moment for Jane when she was able to drop into the workshop via a WhatsApp video call with Mayor Waneka, and meet some of the pupils and see their drawings. Alongside the children, Raquel, Arianne, Reshma, Staff from Iwokrama and teachers and parents from all participating schools also created stunning drawings during the workshops, some of which are featured in the exhibition. (see 2021 Gallery)

Pupils of MacKenzie Primary, Linden pupils with their drawings © Jane Lee McCracken


Top left to right: Phoebe Odhiang; Ivy Malemba; Wild Postcard Gallery posterBottom: Edward and his Buffalo drawing and pupils of Esiteti Primary School, Amboseli with Losioki Somoire, Conservation Education Officer, African Conservation Centre

Born Free Kenya’s Phoebe Odhiang, Education Programs Leader and colleagues Ivy Malemba, Charles Njoroge and Elizabeth Yiambaine formed the Kenya Outreach Team in Summer 2020.

All WDATAG? Outreach Programs were given the opportunity to participate in Phase One of the project which entailed international teams calling for people of all ages to create drawings of wildlife for WDATAG? Wild Postcard Gallery.  In October 2020 the Kenyan team invited Kenyans to create drawings of local species. The response was overwhelming with Jane receiving hundreds of drawings which can be viewed in the Kenya Gallery alongside the UK, California and Guyana Galleries here.

 Charles delivering workshop to children of NAC Nkiri Primary; Jackson and Clinton creating their Masai Giraffe and Cheetah drawings © Born Free / Jane Lee McCracken

In March 2021 Charles and Elizabeth delivered the Kenyan Wildlife workshops following a virtual training session provided by Jane, Born Free Education and Born Free Kenya for teachers of NAC Nkiri, Iloirero and Enchorro Primary Schools.

Top: Children of Enchorro Primary including Yiasi creating an African Elephant drawing Bottom: Elizabeth delivering workshop to children of Iloirero Primary; Jackson © Born Free / Jane Lee McCracken

During the workshops, children watched her drawing video and were mentored by Charles, Elizabeth, teaching staff and local artists to create the outstanding drawings that form the Africa section of the exhibition mural. (See 2021 Gallery)

WDATAG? exhibition display of Kenyan species by Enchorro Primary © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison


Left to right: Dr Melvin Gumal; Bistari Mahmood receiving art equipment

Having worked with Dr Melvin Gumal, Head of Biodiversity Conservation and Research Division, Sarawak Forestry Corporation on various conservation projects since 2014, Jane invited Dr Gumal and his colleague Bistari Mahmood, to form the Malaysia Outreach Team. Due to the pandemic Malaysia schools will complete their drawings for display later this year.


The walls of Great North Museum: Hancock are Grade II listed so the museum team requested the exhibition be displayed as printed vinyls in salon-style murals in the Living Planet Gallery. 

Jane's mockup for Great North Museum exhibition © Jane Lee McCracken

While Jane scanned UK children’s drawings with help from Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist-Teacher and Ruth Gibson, Art Technician of RGS, Outreach teams worked tirelessly to scan their children’s drawings. Dr Raquel Thomas required to self-isolate at Iwokrama due to several members of staff testing positive for COVID-19, had to resort to sending the scans of Guyanan children’s drawings on a memory stick by bus from the rainforest to Georgetown. The driver, Buddy, delivered the USB safely to Rehana who was then able to send the scans to Jane.  


Scans of children's drawings from across the globe © Jane Lee McCracken

Over 900 drawings were created during the workshops. Jane curated a selection of around 600 drawings for the exhibition. Scans were then cleaned by her with assistance from Ruth Gibson. 

Henry Y7 Corbridge Middle: Aye-aye CRITICALLY ENDANGERED © Jane Lee McCracken

The process of selecting vector frames for each drawing and positioning the image within the frame took Jane many weeks. Perhaps most testing of all was working out mockups for each school set which she did on her living room floor. Each set not only had to work aesthetically alone but as part of the larger display.

Corbridge Middle mockup © Jane Lee McCracken

Folders of scans and documents of framed drawings and display mockups for each school were then sent to designer Simon Cataudo to create image files for printing. Simon also designed the introduction panel and information keys for each drawing set.

Colin Lowery then organised the printing of high quality vinyls. From 21 - 25 June, Colin with assistance from Jane, installed the exhibition as per her mockup plans.

Colin Lowery and Jane installing the exhibition at Great North Museum © Jane Lee McCracken

The week before opening, Jane finished Khan Biro drawing. Alongside the children's drawings, large format prints of Khan and Butterfly Lover, the second of her drawings are also exhibited in Living Planet Gallery. Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition is now on permanent display at Great North Museum: Hancock. 

Butterfly Lover 2014 black and neon orange Biro drawing
Image courtesy of Dave Lee and Mrs. Atkinson



Khan 2021 blue and black Biro drawing © Jane Lee McCracken

Created for Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition, Khan highlights the plight of one of the most beautiful and elusive species on Earth, the vulnerable snow leopard known locally as the ‘Ghost of the Mountains’. The drawing depicts historic events and waning cultures, through the eyes of these big cats. Over millennia, from their mountain eyries, snow leopards have witnessed the rise of Ghengis Khan and the Mongol Empire, Nepalese villagers driving caravans of yak across the Himalayas and the extermination of Mongolian wolves during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. To this day, snow leopards are hunted for their fur, and face increasing pressures from human encroachment on their habitat.  

The drawing features a Himalayan vulture, a near threatened bird that is not only sacred to many cultures in the region but that also shares a commensal relationship with snow leopards. Both the snow leopard and vulture are woven with layers of drawn images referencing the films Mongol, 2007 by Sergei Bodrov, Himalaya, 1999 by Eric Valli and Wolf Totem, 2015 by Jean-Jacques Annaud. This layered technique, used in many of Jane’s drawings, conjures a cinematic quality to her art. Part of her fine china and print collection In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia, this artwork explores the region where the snow leopard is Khan.  

Living Planet Gallery Ground floor with Khan print and exhibition panels designed by Simon Cataudo © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison


Born Free education Team organised the Endangered Species Conference aired as a webinar on 2 July. Hosted by Jane and Charlie, the conference featured illuminating presentations by inspirational speakers Will Travers OBE, Co-Founder, Born Free, Phoebe Odhiang, Born Free Kenya, conservationist Manny Mvula, the museum's Ruth Sheldon and young conservationists Abi and Thea. The conference can be viewed here. A downloadable PDF of the project's 12 Ways You Can Help Wildlife is available here.

Endangered Species Conference: Top left to right: Will Travers OBE, Co-Founder Born Free; Phoebe Odhiang Born Free Kenya Middle left to right: Manny Mvula; Thea Caine Bottom: Charlie Baker, Born Free Education Officer © Born Free / Jane Lee McCracken


During the first two weeks of July, Jane met with teachers and children from seven of the participating North East schools, to show them round the exhibition and museum. For many, this was the first school trip since lockdown 2020. The children were elated to see their drawings and art by children from across the world on display, as well as experience the museum’s renown exhibits. St Mary Magdalen Primary joined her in the museum via Zoom to see their drawings on display virtually. 

Images courtesy of Mortimer Primary and Corbridge Middle schools


The following comments were written by children whose drawings are displayed in the Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition:

Year 5:

Year 5:

Year 7:

Year 4:

Year 5:

Year 7:


Jane Lee McCracken, Artist and Where Did All the Animals Go? Founder, said:

“Through drawing, education and 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.” 

Charlie Baker, Born Free Education Officer, said:

“Born Free are thrilled to be partnered with the Where Did All The Animals Go? project. It is so exciting to have seen how engaged children across the globe have been, drawing and learning about both iconic animals, and lesser known endangered species. On every continent wildlife is coming under increasing pressure from habitat destruction, unsustainable exploitation of resources and human-wildlife conflict. This project inspires children to care for all our wild neighbours and understand their importance within the natural landscape, from the African lion to the giraffe weevil.”

Dr Kate Holden, Learning Officer at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:

“We are delighted to showcase the work of children from North East England and around the world in our Living Planet gallery. Their reflection on the state of nature highlights the need to act now to secure the future of the planet they are inheriting.”

Will Travers OBE, Co-Founder Born Free speaking at the Endangered Species Conference 2021 said:

“Born Free is absolutely thrilled to be part of this fantastic programme… When it says, Where Did All The Animals Go? Hopefully, the answer to that is nowhere! We’ve got to make sure that the animals don’t go, they don’t leave us, don’t disappear, they don’t become extinct, and we can all do something about it.” 

Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education, Laguna Art Museum said:

"We loved being part of Jane’s wonderful and powerful project! Jane’s use of art to honour these beautiful animals is nothing short of transformative. Not only are the animals clearly present in the magnificent drawings, but so are the awe and admiration and concern of the artists. I know that Where Did All The Animals Go? will continue to be a force for good."

Dr Meryl Batchelder, Subject Leader for Science, Corbridge Middle School, said:

"Where Did All the Animals Go?” is one of the most engaging enrichment projects I’ve had the pleasure to work on with my pupils. We’re so excited to be able to visit the exhibition of artwork at the Great North Museum: Hancock.”

David Whetstone Senior Desk Editor - Culture ncjMedia wrote:

"...drawings, preserved on vinyl, capture the relative charms of the lesser flamingo, the Eurasian oystercatcher, the Argentine horned frog, the American crocodile and many more. They make for an entertaining but also sobering display. So many wonderful creatures! Surely there’s room for all of us on this unique planet? ...A great project and very moving" Read the article here.



Jane Lee McCracken: Artist and Where Did All the Animals Go? Founder, Project Lead and Curator
Born Free: Education Team
Kirsten Rogers: Project PR/California Outreach Team
Great North Museum Team
Print and installation: Colin Lowery
Design: Simon Cataudo

Christine Egan-Fowler: Artist Teacher, Royal Grammar School Newcastle
Ruth Gibson: Art Technician, Royal Grammar School Newcastle
Linda Peacock: Arts Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross C of E Primary School, Jarrow
Katie Lawrenson: Art & Technology Co-ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields
Karen Allan: Teacher, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields
Sara Punshon: Arts Co-ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RC Primary School, Seaham
Sandi Letton: Arts Co-ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland
Ian Ramsey: Art Lead, Our Lady & St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne
Dr Meryl Batchelder: Subject Leader for Science, Corbridge Middle School, Corbridge
Liz Scott: Science Co-ordinator, Beech Hill Primary School, West Denton
Chris Lawson: Science Co-ordinator, Laurel Avenue Community Primary School, Durham
Rebecca Neillis: Department Education Co-ordinator, Newcastle Bridges School, Great North Children's Hospital RVI, Newcastle upon Tyne
Mayor Waneka Arrindell: Linden Mayor and Town Council
Dr Raquel Thomas: Director Iwokrama International Centre
Arianne Harris: Biologist, Iwokrama International Centre and WDATAG? Ambassador Artist
Rehana Ragoobeer: Human resources Co-ordinator, Iwokrama International Centre
Reshma Persaud: Biologist, Professional Development Fellow Iwokrama International Centre Consultant
Kurupukari Primary School, Fairview
MacKenzie Primary School, Linden
Hauraruni Girls Orphanage, Georgetown
Danelle Hickman: Education Outreach Manager, Ocean Institute California
Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal: PTA President, Top of the World Elementary
Liz Black: Family Engagement Chair, El Morro
El Morro Elementary School, Laguna Beach
Top of the World Elementary School, Laguna Beach
Phoebe Odhiang: Education Programmes Leader, Born Free Kenya
Ivy Malemba: Marketing and Communications Officer, Born Free Kenya
Elizabeth Yiambaine: Education Officer - Amboseli, Born Free Kenya
Charles Njoroge: Education Officer - Meru, Born Free Kenya
Nkiri NAC Primary School, Meru
Iloirero Primary School, Kajiado
Enchorro Primary School, Kajiado

Dr. Melvin Gumal: Head of Biodiversity Conservation and Research Division, Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Bistari Mahmood: Head of Community Engagement & Service Initiatives, Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Primary children of Sarawak

Introduction panel designed by Simon Cataudo