Snow Leopard, Guardian of the High Mountains

Snow Leopard Conservancy’s 4th Annual
Artwork & Poetry Contest – 2022

Shrouded in the swirling snow, she magically appears, climbing effortlessly across the high ridge. Her presence is felt even when not seen. The humans who have gone in search of her know they are not alone. She is there – watching, guarding, unseen in her frozen realm of rock and snow.¹

2022 Judging Panel

Suraj Upadhaya, PhD is a postdoctoral research associate with Iowa State University where he is using the socio-ecological framework to understand the conservation behaviors of landowners. He is conducting research and teaching in the areas of socio-ecological systems and the human dimension of natural resource management. Suraj is also actively participating in research in the Himalayas through his organization, Himalayan Conservation and Research Institute. As a youth, Suraj participated in Snow Leopard Rangers, a conservation education program in Nepal for elementary-age school children through 10th grade. As Suraj’s dream was to one day become a forest ranger, he completed undergraduate studies in forestry at the Institute of Forestry, Nepal, in 2012 and received a Master of Science in 2015 from the University of Kentucky. In 2019, he was awarded a PhD in Integrative Conservation of Nature and Forestry from Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia.

Carolyn MacKenzie serves as Secretary on the Conservancy’s Board of Directors. Carolyn always wanted to be a wildlife biologist. At age 20 she backpacked across Africa, India and the Middle East. She received her Master of Science degree in biophysics and a Bachelor of Science in zoology, both from the University of California, Davis. Along the way, her direction changed. She recently retired after a distinguished 40-year career in the field of Health Physics. Carolyn’s broad experience includes the development of a computer-based international radiation safety training course for onsite test ban treaty inspectors, securing and disposing of dangerous radioactive sources for the University of California, systemwide and for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in global source security.

Margaret Gee hails from Sydney, Australia. She’s worked in publishing for over 30 years, and for the last 20 years has been a literary agent specializing in memoirs and other non-fiction works focusing on nature, Himalayan cultures, anthropology, history, animal welfare, and wellness. Margaret has visited Bhutan eight times and travelled extensively in Nepal, India, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. She regularly attends the Jaipur Literature festival and went on her first snow leopard expedition in 2019. She will be returning to Ladakh to search for the Grey Ghost in January 2023. Margaret is the Snow Leopard Conservancy’s Australian Ambassador.

Althea K. Alton, PhD is Biology Professor Emerita at Western Illinois University. Dr. Alton received her PhD in developmental genetics from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She did postdoctoral work at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center and at Indiana University before joining the faculty at WIU. Dr. Alton taught Biology at Western Illinois University (WIU) for 25 years before retiring in 2012. While at WIU she also served as Director of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Program at the Macomb and Quad Cities Campuses. In retirement, Dr. Alton has been designing and creating jewelry.

Marcia Sivek’s passions in life lie mostly in two camps- animals and art. These were reawakened in 2015. After 12 years of dry corporate work in the environmental engineering industry and almost a decade supporting a struggling nutrition consulting and education practice, with her husband’s help, Marcia was able to fulfill a lifetime dream of traveling to Africa. This trip opened her eyes to the ways animals and people are challenged to coexist. She observed many good people working hard to overcome these challenges in a way that benefits people and animals. Two years after that life changing Africa trip, Marcia debuted her creation, BeProvided Conservation Radio, a podcast showcasing people who love our wild world. The people interviewed are working hard to educate others about the importance of coexistence with nature though conservation, art, writing and animal rescue/rehabilitation. The podcast is now in its fifth season and going strong. Marcia has also picked up her paint brushes and pencils again to paint the wildlife she loves. She is a proud member of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW), an organization that encourages the production of creative work of professional standards in art, letters and music and provides activities and educational, creative and professional support to non-members in those fields via outreach. Her artwork and podcast episodes can be found at

Shavaun Kidd is the Conservancy’s Outreach Manager, maintaining their presence on a variety of social media platforms, and is the administrator of the Conservancy’s website, editor of the Conservancy’s online newsletter publication, “Snow Leopard Tracks,” and is the host of “Conservation Cat Chats,” an online program featuring guests who are involved in snow leopard conservation. In addition, she handles online fundraising sales and is the coordinator of the Conservancy’s annual Art & Poetry Contest. Shavaun also serves as a conservation educator, speaking to a variety of audiences about snow leopard conservation and responding to student and teacher inquiries. She was the editor of the book Searching for the Snow Leopard, Guardian of the High Mountains, co-authored with photographer Bjorn Persson. Shavaun completed her Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree at Western Illinois University, which was centered around a post-baccalaureate certificate program in zoo and aquarium studies, She received bachelor’s degrees in biology, music education, and elementary education from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.


Please read the contest rules carefully. Thank you.

  • Both amateur and professional artists and writers are invited to submit entries.

  • You may submit up to four (4) entries; any combination of poetry and/or artwork will be accepted up to four entries.

  • Poetry Entries should be submitted as a Word document or in pdf format. Files should be named with the Title of the Entry and Your Name.

  • Artistic Entries should be submitted electronically (a photograph of traditional artwork – framed or unframed) in jpeg format. Files should be named with the Title of the Entry and Your Name. Emailed files should be at least 1.5 MB and should be no larger than 6 MB. If you wish to send a file larger than 6 MB, we would recommend sending it via WE Transfer or some other type of file transfer program.

  • All artwork submitted must be signed or initialed. Artwork submitted without a signature or initials will not be considered.

  • Youth entries 11 & Under will need to have parental permission. The Conservancy will email you a brief form to complete upon entry.

  • Entries submitted previously to Snow Leopard Conservancy Contests will not be considered.

  • No employee, subcontractor, associate, partner, or representative of the Snow Leopard Conservancy may submit entries to the contest.

  • Submit your entries only between July 1, 2022 and August 15, 2022, 12 midnight PDT. Entries received outside that timeframe will not be accepted.

  • Submit all entries to Note: Entries submitted through social media will not be accepted.

  • While it is not required, we recommend you submit something you have created specifically with the theme of the contest in mind.

  • Finalists in all categories and divisions will be chosen and announced by Saturday, August 20, 2022 on the Snow Leopard Conservancy website.

  • Winners and Honorable Mentions in all categories and divisions will be chosen and announced on Saturday, September 3, 2022 via a Zoom Presentation and on the Snow Leopard Conservancy website. 

  • Contestants chosen as winners or for honorable mention will be asked to provide a very brief bio about themselves.

  • Possible placings, depending on number submitted and qualification as finalists, will be as follows: Grand Prize Artwork and Grand Prize Poetry; First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, & Sixth Place in both Adult & Youth Categories for each of the following Divisions – Poetry; Traditional Artwork (Pen, Pencil, Marker, Crayon, Colored Pencils, Charcoal, Pastels, Acrylics, & Oils or any combination thereof), Digital Artwork, Combined Media (Traditional & Digital), and Unique Media (such as woodworking, collages, clay, needlework, etc.).

  • All Finalists will receive a Certificate of Appreciation.

  • All winners will receive an Award Certificate.

  • By submitting your artwork and/or poetry, you are giving the Snow Leopard Conservancy permission to display/post it on our website, in newsletters, in our annual report and similar publications, and across our social media channels for the purpose of creating awareness and fundraising. The Snow Leopard Conservancy will not use your poetry or artwork for any other purpose without first obtaining your permission. And any other entity or organization that contacts the Conservancy regarding permission to use your work will be directed to the artist/author.

  • Occasionally, the Conservancy will seek additional permission to reproduce the contestant’s original artwork in the form of unsigned prints to be offered for sale for the purpose of fundraising through our online store and at special events. In this instance, artists will contacted individually and are under no obligation to give assent.

  • The artist/author will retain the copyright and physical possession of their creations, and any sales of original creations should be conducted between the artist/author and the buyer.

  • The Snow Leopard Conservancy will appropriately credit the artwork/poetry to the artist/author, and upon request, will provide contact information for the artist/author. However, the Conservancy is under no obligation to promote professional websites via social media or in any other manner.

If you have any questions or need clarification, please feel free to email us at We wish you luck and thank you for entering the Conservancy’s Art & Poetry Contest 2022.