Since 1993, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has offered the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program, which is currently administered by Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota.
This dynamic educational program uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school. The program provides an opportunity for students to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.
Last year, Eugene Lee, 17, from Eden Prairie, won Best of Show in the Minnesota contest with her acrylic painting of a drake bufflehead in flight. The conservation message winner, 13-year-old Elliot Maas, from Watertown, received special recognition for his statement, “Preserve and conserve! It’s what wildlife deserves!” Last year Minnesota had more than 450 entries.
Students must submit artwork, no later than March 15. The artwork must feature one of the following types of waterfowl: whistling ducks, swans, geese, brant, dabbling ducks, diving ducks, sea ducks, mergansers, stiff tails, or Hawaiian ducks. A full list of permitted species is available online at http://www.fws.gov/juniorduck. Artwork entries will be judged on the basis of original design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a 1” by 1.5” stamp. All entries will receive certificates of participation, and winners will later be invited to an awards banquet.
During the contest, students will be judged in four groups according to grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Three first, three second and three third place entries, along with 16 honorable mentions will be selected from each group. Contest judges select a “Best of Show” from the 12 first place winners, and a single conservation message from all entries which will be submitted to the Federal Duck Stamp Office and entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest to be held in April. The winner of the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, along with his/her parent or guardian and teacher will receive a free trip to a First Day of Sale ceremony in late June or early July.
The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year. The Junior Duck Stamp is available for $5 from the U.S. Postal Service and from many national wildlife refuges. Proceeds from the sale of the stamps support conservation education and provide awards and scholarships for participating students, teachers and schools.
A downloadable entry form and information on contest rules and regulations for teachers and supervising adults can be found online at http://www.fws.gov/jrduck. For additional information or if you have questions regarding your student’s or school’s participation in the Junior Duck Stamp contest, please contact your Junior Duck Stamp State Coordinator, Lynda Knutsen, at 218-449-4115, extension 202, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries and reference forms should be postmarked by March 15, 2017, and mailed to Lynda Knutsen, Junior Duck Stamp coordinator, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, 22996 290th Street NE, Middle River, Minn., 56737.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. It is both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for its scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on its work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov.