For Immediate Release
May 22, 1998

Contact: Diana M. Hawkins

TEN YOUNG SOUTHEAST ARTISTS COMPETE
IN NATIONAL JUNIOR DUCK STAMP FINALS

Of the more than 6,592 students representing schools throughout the Southeast who submitted entries to the 1998 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program’s art contest, the works of 10 young artists were selected to compete for top honor in the national competition and five of them received an honorable mention. The five were:

Cody Ferguson, 14, of Mallet’s Distinctive Designs and Gallery, Conway, Arkansas

Willie Hale, 17, from Pensacola High School, Pensacola, Florida

Paul Johnson, 18, a home-school student from Macon, Georgia

Amanda Cofer, 14, of Williamstown Jr./Sr. High, Williamstown, Kentucky

Bethany Carter, of Sullivan Central High School, Blountsville, Tennessee

Another five finalists who received top "Best of Show" honors in their states were:

Joshua Huggins, 16, from Thomasville High School in Thomasville, Alabama.

Jonathan Young, 15, of Franklinton, Louisiana

Woodie Harmon II, 17, from Northwest Rankin High School, Brandon, Mississippi

Brian Breedlove, of Leesville Road High School, Raleigh, North Carolina

Christian Chamblee, 18, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, South Carolina

Local judges from each state viewed the paintings and drawings of wood ducks, mallards, green winged teals, hooded mergansers, ruddy ducks, and others submitted by the students and took on the difficult task of selecting the best. Only one finalist from each state could be selected for the finals in Washington D.C. that took place earlier this month.

"We are proud of all our representatives from the Southeast. They faced tough competition and placed very well," said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that sponsors the annual contest. "This year, more students from the Southeast submitted entries to the regional competition than ever before, and two states, Florida and Tennessee, sent more than 1.000 entries. He said."

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest is open to young artists in kindergarten through high school who are enrolled in public, private, or home schools. Designs must represent ducks, geese, swans, or two Hawaiian waterfowl species - Hawaiian koloa or laysan. Only original designs can be submitted by contestants, and each entrant must have a sponsoring teacher who screens the artwork for consistency in the species and its habitat.

This year’s national winner was Eric Peterson of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Peterson will receive a $2,500 scholarship for his acrylic painting of an American black duck, and his design will be used on the Federal Junior Duck Stamp which will be issued July 1, 1998. The winning design for the Federal Duck Stamp from the adult contest also will debut the same day. The three top winners in the junior contest, their teachers and parents will win a free trip to Washington, D.C. in November to be honored at the Federal Duck Stamp Contest for adults.

"Perhaps one reason why this Junior Duck Stamp contest generates so much interest within the Southeast Region is because the idea for the contest began in Sanibel, Florida, at Sanibel Elementary School which borders on the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge," said Hamilton.

In the late 1980's, a school art contest was organized to coincide with an event the Refuge was holding to celebrate its namesake, a former editorial cartoonist with the Des Moines Register. Darling was appointed in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey which preceded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also was instrumental in developing the Duck Stamp Program. Since 1934, all waterfowl hunters have been required to purchase a duck stamp to generate funds for acquiring and preserving wetland habitat. In celebration of Darling and the Duck Stamp program, the winning entries in that first student art contest were displayed at the Refuge’s visitor center.

The first event was so successful that the Fish and Wildlife Service decided to sponsor pilot programs in two states, Florida and California, in 1991. Now, all 50 states and the District of Columbia participate in the Junior Duck Stamp program, which encourages conservation education in the schools. All entries are submitted annually through the schools with the approval of each school’s art teacher or principal. Entries from each age group, kindergarten through high school, are judged by a panel of local waterfowl experts and artists. The Best of Show winner from each state competes in the national contest. Some state contests award individual prizes to their Best of Show winners. State awards may be ribbons and certificates, t-shirts, baseball caps, free refuge trips, or scholarships. For example, the winner of the Tennessee contest received an $1,000 scholarship this year.

All winning state and national designs will be displayed during the month of July at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. During the rest of the year, they will be featured at various wildlife artwork displays around the country.

To purchase the 1998 Junior Duck Stamp, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at 1-888-534-0400. Each stamp costs $5, and proceeds provide conservation education awards and scholarships.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages more than 94 million acres of land and water consisting of 514 national wildlife refuges, 65 national fish hatcheries, 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas, and 50 wildlife coordination areas.

The agency also enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.

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Release #: R98-039


1998 News Releases

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