WASHINGTON – A talented young artist from Johns Creek, Ga., has taken top honors at the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. An emperor goose painted by 18-year-old Rayen Kang will grace the 2018-2019 Junior Duck Stamp, which raises funds to educate and engage our nation’s youth in wildlife and wetlands conservation, and outdoor recreation.
A panel of five judges chose her entry, painted in acrylic, from among best-of-show entries from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“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 top piece of art in the nation – which is chosen at this annual competition – is featured on the Junior Duck Stamp, sales of which support educational programs and activities that nurture our next generation of sportsmen and women, and conservationists.
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, Mo., took second place with an oil painting depicting a redhead.
Third place went to Larissa Weber, 17, of Anderson, Ind., for an acrylic rendition of trumpeter swans.
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.”
“I am constantly amazed at the talent of all of our Junior Duck Stamp Program participants, and this year is no exception,” said Assistant Director for Migratory Birds Jerome Ford. “These young people express their appreciation for nature eloquently through their art and their conservation messages.”
This year, 53 entries were received by the Junior Duck Stamp contests around the nation. For complete contest results, visit http://www.fws.gov/birds/education/junior-duck-stamp-conservation-program.php. A gallery of all state Best of Show entries can be found online.
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.