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



    Will Travers OBE with Jane at the Endangered Species Conference, Thought Foundation


    Both 2019 exhibition and conference have been a tremendous success with positive feedback from children and attendees as well as visitors to the exhibition:

    Jane's enthusiasm is infectious and her talent prodigious. Her love of wildlife and her ability to communicate that love to young artists, encouraging them to explore new subjects and new mediums, was there for all to see when I had the privilege of attending the 'Where did all the animals go?’ exhibition on the 22nd June. I am full of admiration for her work and for her passion to inspire the next generation to care about the natural world around us. 

    Will Travers OBE, President Born Free

    Jane has worked tirelessly to deliver this programme of work, culminating in the brilliant ‘Where did all the animals go?’ exhibition and conference at the Thought Foundation in June 2019. We are delighted to continue to work in partnership with Jane, fostering a love for the natural world, increasing awareness of the threats and challenges facing wildlife and empowering young people to make sustainable choices.

    David Bolton, Education Officer Born Free

    To put on an event like this and getting children involved is great. It’s just amazing and Jane has done a wonderful job!

    PC Peter Baker, Northumbria Police

    Our children have benefited enormously from participating in the exhibition. They have not only learned about animal extinction but have gained vital knowledge about the impact the human race has on these beautiful creatures. The children’s confidence and self-esteem in art has most definitely grown. To see the children's proud faces as they looked at their work on display was a personal highlight. In such a short amount of time, Jane taught them new skills and really developed their "can do" attitude with drawing. She has been a pleasure to work with and the children received such positive praise and responded so well to her. She really brought out the best in them. This exhibition has been such a success and we would love to be part of the next one to bring further awareness to such a worthwhile cause and to help to give Jane's amazing art work the recognition it fully deserves as without her none of this would have been possible. 

    Quotes from Mortimer Primary Children:

    Eashan “I really liked drawing the animals, it was fun.”

    Ellen “I liked how we could start again if we made mistakes and do it lots of times.”

    Sophie “I enjoyed finding out about how many endangered animals there are and drawing them.”

    Harry “I enjoyed knowing that we are helping endangered animals by drawing them.”

    Amber “I liked meeting Jane and learning about the endangered animals.”

    Elana “Just to know I was one of the people who was chosen to draw the animals and to know I could be saving their lives made me feel really happy.”

    Sam “there was no specific way to draw it, your way was the right way.”

    Jodie “I really liked working with Jane as she was really encouraging and I was happy when I found out someone wanted to buy the picture of my whale.” (which was a present for the ladies husband.)

    Mrs. Lawrenson, Arts Co-ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields

    Image: Workshop feedback from children of Bexhill Academy

    Thank you so much for all your help and encouragement with my art

    Kate Tooley, Yr 6 St Oswald’s RC Primary School

    I am proud, impressed and happy

    Chloe, Yr 6 Bexhill Academy, Sunderland

    The children are so young and I just can’t believe the quality of the work they are producing.

    Suzanne Stanley, conference attendee

    It is truly magical to see the children working with Jane. She gives them clear direction and inspires every child that they can achieve. Their Biro work has been truly magnificent and I know the children are incredibly proud of their pieces. 

    It was magnificent to take the pupils to Thought Foundation and see their faces light up when they saw their work displayed in the gallery space. I feel this should be done regularly across the city as the sense of pride and confidence in children gained from the experience was incredible.

    Biro was not something pupils properly explored until working with Jane, since then I have brought Biro art into the curriculum in other year groups and it's fascinating to see how differently children work with a Biro. They work with newfound confidence which is almost the reverse of what you would expect and learning how to turn their mistakes into miracles has, in turn, made them more confident at drawing. We are delighted to be working with everyone on the project'.

    Samantha McCulloch, Year 6 teacher, RGS 

    Robert Year 5 Jarrow Cross with his Biro drawings Reticulated Giraffe and African Elephant at Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition 2019 


    • The remarkable dedication shown by each child to create their astonishing and accomplished drawings, learning intensely about wildlife.
    • The pride children exuded seeing their artwork on display in an exhibition.
    • Each drawing not only tells a story of the individual animal, it also tells a story of each child. Many of the children participating in this project have health issues they strived to overcome to produce their drawings.
    • Will Travers OBE, gave his time to come back up to our region, specially to attend our conference after speaking at Sage, Gateshead, only a few days before.
    • The project was supported throughout by Gordon Buchanan, wildlife film-maker.
    • Fourteen-year-old RGS student Elyse Feenan’s recycling presentation and’ ideas swap’ activity initiated by Christine Egan-Fowler, at the conference was so impactful that many who attended ‘have changed the way’ they recycle. Read about Elyse's presentation here
    • A ‘Vox Pop’ video was playing throughout the exhibition time at Thought Foundation; we could hear children and their teachers talking about what they had learned.
    • The Conference report and interview with Jane produced by Chinese media students from Newcastle University captured the spirit of the event: https://youtu.be/USAY8e-sCrQ
    • The exhibition and conference brought together people who are interested in grassroots action and compassion.
    • High praise from artists of all ages, teachers and visitors for the outstanding calibre of work the children produced with many requests to buy work or prints.
    • Watching visitors of all ages read the species information and seeing or hearing the effect each species’ decline had on them.
    • Participating schools funding their own transport for teachers to bring children to enjoy the exhibition together and participate in question and answer sessions with Jane or fun workshops creating tiger and orangutan drawings in their sketchbooks. 
    • During the pilot exhibition 2019, schools that Jane worked with found time to find cover and resources so they could be involved in the project. Materials were simple and often the space Jane worked in was a gym or hall; sending a signal for Artists to be involved in schools, even though resources and spaces are tight.

    The diversity of the speakers was excellent, particularly the addition of the wildlife crime officer. Jane did a great job hosting the event, introducing the event and each speaker. The videos were very effective. The artwork was displayed beautifully and the information on each species was impactful.

    Will Travers OBE


    Elana Year 4 with her Bengal tiger drawing, during Mortimer Primary School's visit to the exhibition, where children participated in a tiger and orangutan drawing workshop