Wildlife Forever and Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops, is proud to honor 7th grade, Pennsylvania artist, Tilden Abercrombie with the prestigious Invader Crusader award. Tilden chose to highlight an invasive sea lamprey attached to a Brook Trout for this year’s contest.

The Invader Crusader award was created to spotlight the impact that invasive species have on fish and wildlife. To compete, contestants must feature and inavsive species and share about the impacts on their chosen fish species.  Tilden wrote, “I live near Lake Erie where sea lamprey is an invader affecting many different fish… Thanks to trout restocking programs there are more fish to catch, but the sea lamprey continues to be an aggressive invader of the Great Lakes.”

“Sea lamprey were introduced into the Great Lakes in the 1800’s and decimated fish populations. Thankfully, through rigorous management and control of this invasive species, native and sport fish numbers are increasing.  We commend Tilden’s depiction of this invasive species to help raise awareness as we continue to fight the battle with sea lampreys across the Great Lakes Basin,” said Amy McGovern, Fisheries Program Supervisor, Aquatic Invasive Species of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Julia Luger, Education and Communication Director of Wildlife Forever said, “The Invader Crusader award is a unique opportunity for young people to learn about the impact of aquatic invasive species. Through drawing and creative writing, students better understand the threat and learn about the Clean Drain Dry prevention message. Congratulations Tilden!”

In addition to the State-Fish Art Contest, Wildlife Forever works alongside with state, federal, local and industry partners to implement the Clean Drain Dry Initiative, a national aquatic invasive species outreach and education program.