The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that a stamp designed by 17-year-old Andrew Kneeland of Rock Springs, Wyoming, is the winner among best-of-show entries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The stamp, which depicts a pair of wood ducks, was selected to appear on the 2015-2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp. The design was chosen by a panel of judges at the national Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest, held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
The acrylic entry, which won the Wyoming State Junior Duck Stamp Contest, edged out a total of more than 24,000 entries that were submitted to the 53 state Junior Duck Stamp contests. Proceeds from sales of the $5 Junior Duck Stamp support environmental education.
“I congratulate our winning artist and all the talented young people who participate in the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program each year,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “After 22 years, the Junior Duck Stamp Program remains one of the Service's hallmark efforts to connect youth with nature and inspire budding wildlife artists.”
Isabelle Kapoian, 16, of Bedford, New Hampshire, took second place with an oil painting depicting a tundra swan.
Third place went to Bradley Gray, 16, of North Ogden, Utah, for his depiction of a pair of green-winged teal.
The 2015 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Message Contest winner was 14-year-old Sherry Xie from Virginia, who wrote: “Nature painted us the wetlands, but it is we who must conserve and appreciate the art.”
The Junior Duck Stamp Contest winner receives $1,000. The second-place winner receives $500, the third-place winner receives $200, and the Conservation Message winner receives $200. The winners were selected by a panel of five judges.
The First Day of Sale Ceremony for the 2015-2016 Federal and Junior duck stamps will be held June 26 at the Bass Pro Shops retail outlet in Memphis, Tenn. It is free and open to the public. Both the Federal and Junior duck stamp artists will be available to sign stamps, and the U.S. Postal Service will have a special cancellation for collectors.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long Junior Duck Stamp conservation program used by educators across the nation. The program's Educators Guide and Youth Guide provide 10 lesson plans, with exercises and activities focusing on conservation science, our changing natural world, and fun. Supplemental guides focus on homeschools and informal education settings such as nature centers, national wildlife refuges, and after-school programs. The curriculum guides are available at www.fws.gov/juniorduck.