Using art as a means to communicate a global and environmental message, Jane Lee McCracken in partnership with Born Free Foundation, Artist Teacher Christine Egan-Fowler, RGS, Linda Peacock Arts Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross and a group of dynamic teachers are working towards the following exhibition:
  • Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition of children’s endangered species Biro drawings created in Jane’s exhibition workshops working with ten North East schools, alongside a selection of Jane’s artwork created specifically for the exhibition.

This exhibition proposed for 2021 will allow children from local schools to see their work on display while encouraging children, parents, carers and families to further their understanding about the issues the project raises.

Children of Jarrow Cross Primary School visiting Where Did All the Animals Go exhibition to see their work on display and research the exhibition for their Arts Award project

Using simple materials with the artist at its hub, and with her long-standing partnership with prestigious international wildlife charity Born Free, the project involves North East schools and communities with whom Jane has built trusted relationships. The group of Education Partners whose knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm is seen as a tremendous asset to the project, includes:

Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher RGS, co-instigator & Project Partner
Linda Peacock, Art Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross Primary School, co-instigator & Project Partner
Katie Lawrenson, Art Co-ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields Education Partner
Sara Punshon, Arts Co-Ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary, Seaham, Education Partner
Sandi Letton, Arts Co-Ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland, Education Partner
Samantha McCulloch, Junior School Staff, RGS, Education Partner


Africa species 2019 colour Biro drawings, children of Jarrow Cross

In 2019 Jane worked with over 400 children from nine schools delivering drawing workshops for children to create unique and sensitive portraits of endangered species for the pilot exhibition at Thought Foundation, Birtley: Where Did All the Animals Go? An Exhibition of North East School Children’s Drawings Working with Artist, Jane Lee McCracken 20 June – 22 July 2019. 

Participating schools and teachers included:

Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle 
Linda Peacock, Arts Co-Ordinator, Jarrow Cross CE Primary School
Sara Punshon, Arts Co-Ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary, Seaham 
Sandi Letton, Arts Co-Ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland 
Katie Lawrenson, Arts Co-Ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields 
Ridgeway First School, Whitley Bay 
St Oswald’s RC Primary School, South Shields
Kibblesworth Academy
Whickham Parochial School

Europe and Oceania species colour Biro drawings by children from St Mary Magdalen Primary School and Mortimer Primary School

The exhibition provided an opportunity to experience the beauty of child art as well as form connections with each vulnerable species, through the creative response of a generation of young people.

Honey Bee 2019 colour Biro drawing, Lucas Year 4 St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School, Seaham

On display also, were Jane’s original Biro drawings and large format prints of her drawings exploring loss generated by human destruction and representational of both life’s beauty and brutal reality, creating memorials of lives lived, both human and animal and ways of life and environments lost. Her intricate drawings take several months to research and make and incorporate complex and symbolic drawing layers, which also encompass her love of film, bringing a cinematic quality to her art.

Hiroshima Unicorn Pinup (detail) 2017 green Biro drawing, WAR series Jane Lee McCracken

As exhibition curator, Jane produced:

  • An illustrated booklet given to each participating child and endorsed by Born Free Education, which included species information, environmental education, and drawing and portraiture tips
  • The exhibition, which included 50 framed A2 Biro drawings by children aged 5 -11 years old accompanied with species information labels; a selection of Biro drawings and large format prints by Jane; a ‘Community Wall’ of Biro drawings created by adults and children in a special project fundraising workshop delivered by Jane in January 2019
  • A film catalogue of all participants’ drawings to ensure that each child’s work was represented in the exhibition. This film was projected on the gallery wall so that drawings appeared in large scale format alongside conservation status and species population to give further impact to the plight of each species
  • A pop-up shop featured three newly commissioned A3 posters designed by Jane featuring a variety of children’s drawing, from schools across the North East; selling to raise funds for Born Free Foundation, WCS Malaysia and Save Wild Tigers
  • Jane ran a series of brilliant Biro drawing workshops, open to all ages, throughout the exhibition
  • A free leaflet, available throughout the exhibition, as part of the educational resources provided: 12 Ways You Can Help Wildlife includes contributions from Will Travers OBE, Laura Gosset and David Bolton, PC Peter Baker, Dr. Melvin Gumal and Jane
  • Three films which can be viewed here


Harry Year 4 Mortimer Primary School, South Shields with his Great White Shark 2019 colour Biro drawing  


Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder Born Free: Headline speaker at the Endangered Species Conference 2019

Held in conjunction with Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition is the Endangered Species Conference open to all members of the public, schools and local community. The conference focuses on the importance of wildlife and biodiversity to humanity and addresses positive ways to encourage individual action and collective responsibility towards wildlife welfare.

The conference comprises:

  • Prestigious environmental and conservation speakers delivering presentations and Q&A sessions about endangered species.
  • A panel of children presenting their concerns and their resolutions to tackle the environmental crisis.
  • Presentation of ideas by speakers who have discovered new and innovative ways to help endangered species and the environment
  • Post-conference discussion opportunity highlighting what has been learned and a paper recording findings and recommendations to be used as resource.
  • With Drawing and a key artist at the centre of this project, it has proven to be a driving force that encourages children to become ‘environmental brokers.’ Elyse Feenan, student RGS Newcastle was inspired to give a school assembly and develop an active recycling project after attending one of Jane’s drawing workshops.


Elyse Feenan, environmental campaigner, RGS speaking at the 2019 Endangered Species Conference; top image: Will Travers OBE courtesy of Climate Change North East

One inspired child is potentially a future creator and conservationist and the project creates opportunities for children to champion global issues with children already expressing a wish to speak alongside experts at the next conference.

The project also questions how animals are traditionally placed in our childhood psyche, and challenges this to emphasise that humans need to live in harmony with wildlife in order to preserve our only habitat, Earth. It also reinforces the ethos of Born Free, that wildlife belongs in the wild.

 Image courtesy of Will Travers OBE and Born Free


As part of Where Did All the Animals Go? 2019 exhibition of North East School Children's endangered species Biro drawings, Jane also organised and hosted the Endangered Species Conference, 22 July 2019 at host venue Thought Foundation

Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder Born FreeFoundation, was headline speaker. Will had previously delivered a talk at the Sage, 20 June 2019. With an introduction by Jane, esteemed speakers, who also dedicated their time to deliver talks included Dr Melvin Gumal, Director of WCS Malaysia, Professor Russell Hill, Durham University, PC Peter Baker, Northumbria Police WCU, Elyse Feenan, environmental activist and RGS student and Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher, RGS, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Will Travers OBE, Jane, and young artist Ramsay Year 5 Jarrow Primary School with his Mum at the Endangered Species Conference 2019

The conference was a tremendous success with high praise received from attendees, many of who stated that the speakers had changed the way they thought about wildlife and enlightened them to actions they could take to help vulnerable species. 

Read articles featuring each speaker's presentation here

    Read the Endangered Species Conference and Where Did All the Animals Go? Exhibition highlights and quotes here


    With kind thanks to the following organisations and individuals for their invaluable help with the exhibition and conference:


    The Royal Grammar School Community, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Big Local Central Jarrow
    Mortimer Primary School
    Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops, Jane Lee McCracken



    Laura Gosset BSc (Hons), MSc, Head of Education Born Free Foundation
    David Bolton, Education Officer Born Free Foundation
    Leanne Pearce, Director Thought Foundation
    Gareth Billinghurst, Director Thought Foundation
    Michaela Wetherell, Curator Thought Foundation

    Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder Born Free Foundation
    Dr. Melvin Gumal, Director WCS Malaysia                                                                
    PC Peter Baker, Officer Northumbria Police Wildlife Crime Unit
    Professor Russell Hill, Durham University
    Elyse Feenan, Environmental Activist, RGS
    Jess Kirton, Film-maker
    Robert Lee
    Suzanne Stanley                                                                                                

    David Shellenberger
    Jason Haddington
    Katie Lawrenson
    Ruth Gibson
    Christina Holt
    Plant Heritage North East    


    Jane Lee McCracken at Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition before opening, Thought Foundation

    The preview for the Where Did All the Animals Go? An Exhibition of North East School Children's Drawings Working with Artist Jane Lee McCracken was held on 20 June 2019 at Thought Foundation.
    Great White Shark by Isobel, Year 6
    Many children who participated in the exhibition came from across the region to see their artwork on display. They also brought their families to see their endangered species Biro drawings.
    Ava (centre) who drew a splendid hedgehog attended the preview with her family
    Teachers from participating schools which included RGS Newcastle, Jarrow Cross Primary School, Mortimer Primary School, Bexhill Academy and St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School, also attended.
    Jane with Miss Punshon of St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School beside European wildlife drawings created by her students
    As well as delivering workshops to the afore-mentioned schools, Jane also delivered a workshop to several exceptionally talented young people who regularly attend her drawing workshops at Thought Foundation. 

    Kate Tooley at the exhibition preview with her Fosa colour Biro drawing
    For more information about drawings, workshops and conference speaker visit:
    Showreel displaying a catalogue of drawings by every participating child