Open Spaces: Everything You Need to Know About This Weekend's Federal Duck Stamp Contest

Everything You Need to Know About This Weekend's Federal Duck Stamp Contest

This Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28, and Oct. 29, we’re holding the nation’s oldest government-sponsored art contest and the most prestigious wildlife art competition - the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. The winner will see his or her art made into the 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp, which will raise millions of dollars for conservation.

Last Year's Winning Stamp from James Hautman

The contest, held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is free and open to the public. 

If you’re interested in witnessing a bit of history in the making, here’s everything you need to know about the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.

What can I see and do at the Federal Duck Stamp Contest?

All 192 entries will be there for you to check out close-up.   Watch the panel of five judges evaluate each entry.  Depending on the round, they’ll either advance artwork or give it a numerical score.

As the judging progresses, the field gets smaller and the tension mounts.  Which artist will have his or her art reproduced on millions of Federal Duck Stamps – and earn the respect of the entire wildlife art community?  Since all art is judged anonymously, we won’t find out until the winner’s name is revealed.

In the end, the last piece of art standing – the top scorer – wins the contest.

I can’t get to the contest – can I see it anyway?

Of course!  We’ll be streaming the contest judging live, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern on Friday. Visit the Federal Duck Stamp website to join the stream, and you can see all the entries online here.  Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get regular updates.

We’re planning to announce the winner right around noon (Eastern) on Saturday!

What is a Federal Duck Stamp, anyway?

The Federal Duck Stamp is not a postage stamp.  It’s a conservation stamp – when you buy a Duck Stamp, nearly all of the proceeds are used to buy or lease wetlands for our national wildlife refuges – which helps more than ducks! Since 1934, Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $750 million to help acquire more than 5.3 million acres.

First Duck Stamp,1934, Artist: J.N. "Ding" Darling

Looking for more information? Check out this post from August for a great primer on the Duck Stamp program.

What else is going on during the contest, and how to do I find the details?

Besides the art judging, there are plenty of other things to do at the contest.  At 7 p.m. on Friday, we’ll be showing a film called “Duck!: A Duckumentary.”  Early Saturday morning, you can take a bird walk to see some of the species that call the Shepherdstown area home for some or all of the year.

There are also exhibits about Fish and Wildlife Service history and displays sponsored by our conservation partners.

To get the details for these events – as well as links to driving directions and information about lodging, visit the Federal Duck Stamp website.

There’s a lot to do in the Shepherdstown area, too, like fishing, hiking, biking or shopping, and the Shepherdstown Visitors Center can help you plan your trip.

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Last updated: June 21, 2012