Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Duck Stamp contest goes west

For the first time in 61 years, the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will occur in the West next October. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently announced that the David Brower Center in Berkeley, Calif., will host the two-day judging event for an annual contest that draws hundreds of entries.

“Having this prestigious contest in the heart of the urban Bay Area provides a unique opportunity to introduce new, non-traditional audiences to the importance of wetlands and wildlife conservation,” said Ren Lohoefener, regional director of the service’s Pacific Southwest Region.

With the event open to the public, authorities from the art, waterfowl and philatelic communities will judge the art. The winning entry will appear on the Federal Duck Stamp, also known as the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, and the winning artist will receive a pane of stamps bearing his or her design.

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a current Federal Duck Stamp. In addition to hunters, conservationists, recreational birders, stamp collectors and others also purchase the $15 stamp in support of habitat conservation for a wide diversity of species.

Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from stamp sales go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the purchase of wetlands for inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System. About 1.8 million stamps are sold each year nationwide. Twenty refuges in the Pacific Southwest Region have directly benefitted from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps.
The 2009 Federal Duck Stamp Contest winner -- Robert Bealle of Waldorf, Md. -- will see the stamp bearing his American Wigeon (above) go on sale on June 25. Details about the 2010 contest appear here, and the entry deadline is Aug. 15.

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