2015-02-05 / Nature

‘Get Quacking’ on Duck Stamps

By Jack Kelly

A Green-winged Teal duck. (Photos by Jack Kelly) A Green-winged Teal duck. (Photos by Jack Kelly) The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program competition is currently under way, with calls going out to young artists and nature enthusiasts. All Rhode Island students in grades K-12 are welcome to take part through school activities, art studios, youth groups and home school or after school programs.

The innovative competition incorporates scientific and wildlife management principles into a visual arts curriculum. Participants complete a duck stamp design as a visual “term paper,” using visual arts, rather than verbal communication, to articulate what they have learned. Through this program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduces the National Wildlife Refuge System to students and educates new generations of citizens about the importance of waterfowl and wetlands conservation.

State Coordinator Shannon Griffith said, “Last year we had 636 entries, which was a good response, but we are hoping to get 800 entries this year. We saw that there are many fine young artists in our state and we received exceptional renditions of waterfowl in pencil, water colors and oils.” The deadline for submissions is March 15.

Rhode Island names first, second, and third place winners, as well as honorable mention, from each of four age groups. The Best in Show state winner competes in a national competition for scholarship money and prizes, and the national winning artwork is made into the next year’s Junior Duck Stamp. The Junior Duck Stamp sells for $5 to collectors and others, and the proceeds fund youth conservation and education programs.

For entry and reference forms visit fws.gov/juniorduck or contact Griffith at juniorduckstampsri@gmail.com or call 315-391-6352. For details and photos of last year’s competition, visit the Rhode Island Junior Duck Stamp Facebook page.

Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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