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CA Junior Duck Stamp Program

JDS 2014 BOS with ribbon

CA 2014 Junior Duck Stamp Best of Show: Ruddy Ducks By Jonathan Chen, age 15 from Fremont

Students in kindergarten through high school are involved in this innovative, curriculum-based program through an annual art competition in each state. Sacramento NWR is the California state receiving site for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program (JDS). In 2013, over 4,000 students across the state of CA participated.

**Attention parents, school teachers, and group leaders: help educate youth about the waterfowl, wetlands, and conservation by participating in the Junior Duck Stamp Program! Contact us for more information and to get on our mailing list (530)934-2801 or

What is the Junior Duck Stamp Program?

This program is a dynamic arts and science curriculum designed to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. Using scientific and wildlife observation principles, the program helps students to visually communicate what they have learned by creating an entry for their state's JDS art contest. Judges select 25 winners from each group for prizes and one "Best of Show" winner who is entered in a national art competition. The winning entry is made into a conservation stamp. Prizes for top 25 winners for each age group, conservation message prizes, and many other prizes are given out in California!!

Why participate?

This non-traditional pairing of subjects brings new interest to both science and the arts. It crosses cultural, ethnic, social and geographic boundaries to teach greater awareness of our nation's natural resources. The program provides an opportunity for students to express artistically their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.

What do I need to do to participate?

Draw a duck, goose, or swan native to North America (see the eligible species list) on 9"x12" horizontal paper. Scenes should depict waterfowl in their natural habitat. Students are encouraged to include aquatic vegetation, trees and plants appropriate for the species. For information, rules, requirements, how to use references and more, see the 2014-15 JDS Program and Contest document (this applies for 2014 entries). All entries in grades 7-12 must submit a reference form.

Download the Entry Form (or in Spanish). More information below regarding entry requirements and reference sheets.

If your group is in need of 9"x12" paper or other supplies, please contact the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge at 530-934-2801. Supplies are limited.

The annual contest entries must be postmarked by March 15th and mailed to: Sacramento NWR Complex, JDS Contest, 752 County Road 99W, Willows, CA 95988. 

2014 Contest and Judging

The judging for the California program occurred on Wednesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 27. It was a 2-day process to select the top 100 winners. Day 1 occurred at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows and it narrowed the selection down to the top 400 entries (top 100 per group). Day 2 was at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. See the news release with the winner announced. Updated information with the top 100 winners and conservation message winners. See our Facebook page with photos from this year. The Best of Show (seen above) competed at nationals on Friday, April 18, 2014 - you can view the gallery of entries and the national winner on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Junior Duck Stamp Program website.

Junior Duck Stamp Curriculum

This curriculum focuses on the conservation of waterfowl and wetland habitats. It is designed for students in grades 5–8, with adaptations for K–4 and 9–12.

Educators will find a variety of information and resources in the Educator Guide to take the guesswork out of designing a Junior Duck Stamp program or to enhance an existing program. Resources from general waterfowl and wetlands information to standards correlations will help meet educator and student needs. Suggestions for adapting content to lower or higher grades are provided in the Unit-by-Unit guides.

Contact the Sacramento NWR for free digital or hard copies. Link online to the Educator Guide and Youth Guide.

Find out about the Homeschool Guide and Nonformal Education Guide.

Entry Requirements  

•The physical size of submitted artwork must be 9" x 12".
•Entries must be less than ¼" thick.
•Image layout must be horizontal.
•Image must be a live portrayal of a native North American duck, swan or goose.
•Entries should not be matted.
•There should be no border around the image.
•A loose, detachable cover sheet may be laid over the art face to protect it during shipping. Spray chalk and pastel entries with a fixative to eliminate possible scuffing and smudging during transfer of artwork.
•The entry may be multi-color, black and white, or a single color; it may be rendered in ink, paint, pastel, crayon, or pencil.
•Techniques may include scratch-board, airbrush, linoleum printing, paper collage, dry brush, crosshatch, pointillism, etc. No photography, weak pencil, or computer-generated art will be accepted.
No lettering, words, signatures or initials may appear on the front of the design. Inclusion of such markings will result in disqualification.
•Design entries must be contestant's original, hand-drawn creation and may not be traced or copied from published photographs or other artists' works.
•Photographs taken by the student may be used as references in the development of the design. Computers or other mechanical devices may not be used in creating artwork.
Entries that do not meet the requirements will be disqualified.

Using References to Prepare Your Entry

Scenes should depict birds in their natural habitat; for example, sea ducks should be shown in ocean areas. Feather colors should be appropriate to the time of the year depicted by the environment. Decoratively designed birds are to receive equal voting consideration as realistic depictions as long as they are anatomically correct according to species depicted. Students should not reproduce other artists’ visual images for the purpose of presenting them as their own creative work.

Only work that is the unique creation of the individual student should be entered into competition. Please do not submit work which has been directly or indirectly copied from any published source. Students limited by environment or experience may rely on published images as guides when producing a work. Especially when many references are used to develop an understanding of the subject represented in the entry, the entry must be the student's own creation and idea.

Free Art Camp

The Flyway Journeys Wildlife Art Camp is a partnership between California Waterfowl, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association to provide 12 selected high school art or science students with a continental perspective of waterfowl and wildlife art. Students will work closely with professional artists and biologists to gain a greater understanding of conservation through the arts while facilitating community awareness through a follow-up visual arts projects. This camp will occur January 2-4, 2015. For more information, view the flyer or contact California Waterfowl for more information (916) 648-1406.

Support the Program, Purchase a Junior Duck Stamp

These collectible $5 stamps are created from the winning design at the national level. Proceeds from the national sales are re-invested in the JDS program to support awards and conservation education. The Sacramento NWR has Junior Duck Stamps for sale call 530-934-2801 or visit the Federal Duck Stamp Office for other locations.

Other Links

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex's Facebook Page with photos from the California Junior Duck Stamp events (look in albums)

California Waterfowl Association which has educator guides, information, photos, previous winners, and more!

Federal Duck Stamp Program

Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program

Federal Junior Duck Stamp's Facebook Page

USFWS Pacific Southwest Region's Facebook Page with several Junior Duck Stamp Videos about the program in California (look under videos)


Page Photo Credits — USFWS
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2014
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