The Migratory Bird Conservation Fund recently announced that the winning designs for the 2015-2016 Duck Stamp Contest will be sold to the public for the first time on Friday, June 26. Jennifer Miller, a native of Olean, NY, has been selected as the winning artist of the Federal Contest, and 17-year-old Andrew Kneeland of Rock Springs, WY has won the Junior Contest.
For more than 80 years, American artists of all ages have submitted their drawings and paintings, for the coveted chance to see their artwork featured on an annual Duck Stamp.
And for more than 80 years, sales of these Duck Stamps have given invaluable aid to more than 6.5 million acres of wetland habitat around the country, including the countless waterfowl, mammals, insects and reptiles that depend on those areas. 98% of all proceeds from Duck Stamps go directly towards purchasing, leasing or conserving wetland habitats for federal lands.
Miller’s winning painting, an expertly crafted portrait of two ruddy ducks done in acrylics, beat out 186 entries from artists around the country to become this year’s official Duck Stamp. Out of over 24,000 total entrants in Junior Duck Stamp Contests across all fifty states, Kneeland’s acrylic painting of two wood ducks stood out as the winner.
The idea of a Duck Stamp contest to support wetland conservation was first conceived in 1934, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act into law. The Act, which requires waterfowl hunters over the age of 16 to carry a Duck Stamp as they would a hunting license, was meant to incentivize American creativity while also helping to curb the widespread destruction of wetland habitats.
While it should be noted that the Duck Stamp is not valid for postage, it does offer holders free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee for an entire year.
The June 26 unveiling will be held at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis, TN, and will feature the two winners signing autographs. In accordance with the recent price increase passed by Congress, the Federal Duck Stamp will cost $25, and the Junior Duck Stamp will be sold for $5. The $10 price increase, the first increase in 24 years, will mean that each year, an additional 17,000 acres of wetland will be supported.
Duck Stamps will be available online, in many post offices, and in many sporting goods and large-scale retail stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses and equipment. Many refuges sell Duck Stamps as well. To find a vendor near you, click here.
To see a gallery of all Federal Duck Stamp entries, click here.