For the last 25 years, the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest has encouraged students to explore the natural world, participate in outdoor recreation activities and learn wildlife management principles. This year, 18-year-old Rayen Kang's emperor goose, painted in acrylics, will be the symbol of 2018's Duck Stamp. Kang, a talented young artist from Johns Creek, Georgia, saw her entry selected by a panel of five judges from dozens of entries from all over the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her creation will now raise funds to educate and engage our nation’s youth in wildlife and wetlands conservation.
“Connecting kids to the outdoors and getting them involved early in hunting, fishing and conservation is incredibly important,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Programs like the Junior Duck Stamp help create future conservationists, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts—and maybe even the next Teddy Roosevelt.”
“Through the Junior Duck Stamp Program, tens of thousands of students each year learn principles of wildlife conservation, connect with the outdoors, and spark a love of hunting, fishing, birdwatching and other wildlife-related recreation activities,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “Using science, art and language, the Junior Duck Stamp Program kindles that spark, creating the hunters, anglers and conservationists of tomorrow.”
Students annually participate in the Junior Duck Stamp Program at school, at home, in after-school groups and at refuges, parks and nature centers. After learning about wetlands, waterfowl and wildlife conservation, they express their learning through a drawing or painting of a duck, goose or swan.
The Junior Duck Stamp program began in 1989 as an extension of the Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp, commonly known as the Duck Stamp. The first national Junior Duck Stamp art contest was held in 1993. The stamp encourages students to explore their natural world, participate in outdoor recreation activities, and learn wildlife management principles. Some 3,000 Junior Duck Stamps are sold annually for $5 each.
Daniel Billings, 17, of Gallatin, Missouri, took second place with an oil painting depicting a redhead.
In addition to the art contest, a Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Message Contest encourages students to expresses in words the spirit of what they have learned through classroom discussions, research and planning for their Junior Duck Stamp Contest entries. This year’s winner is Abigail McIntyre, 16, of Manhattan, Kan., who wrote: “Conserving our wetlands is as important as conserving our art. It is our history, our inspiration, our life and our future.”
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.
You can buy Junior Duck Stamps online through the U.S. Postal Service and Amplex, and at some national wildlife refuges. Proceeds from the sale of Junior Duck Stamps are used for awards and scholarships to individuals who submit winning designs in state or national competitions and for awards to schools and other participants to further education activities related to the conservation education goals of the program.
The First Day of Sale ceremony for the 2018-2019 Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp will be held June 29 at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Hanover, Md., just outside of Baltimore. The event begins at 10 a.m. and is free and open to the public. Both winning artists will be available to sign stamps, and the U.S. Postal Service will have a special cancellation for collectors.