Sherrie Russell Meline Selected as Winner of 2005 Federal Duck Stamp Contest
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“Sherrie Russell Meline's beautiful rendition of Ross’ geese continues the Duck Stamp's tradition of outstanding wildlife art,” said Matt Hogan, acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “More important, it will help us convey the importance of preserving our Nation's wetland habitat and the wildlife and communities it supports."
Russell Meline’s painting of Ross’ geese bested 232 other entries and will grace the 2006-2007 Federal Duck Stamp, which goes on sale July 1, 2006. The sale of Federal Duck Stamps raises approximately $25 million each year to fund waterfowl habitat acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is sponsored each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This year was the first time in the stamp’s 71-year history that the design was chosen outside of Washington, D.C. Along with its move to Memphis, the competition was co-hosted for the first time by Ducks Unlimited, Greater Memphis Arts Council, and the Memphis College of Art. The competition was surrounded by a week of public events at the Memphis College of Art, Bass Pro Shops, and the Peabody Hotel. The week culminates with the 2005 Ducks Unlimited Expo.
"The Federal Duck Stamp contest is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious wildlife art contest, and Memphis has welcomed us with open arms,” Hogan said. “We want to thank our partners for making this such a successful event. Hopefully more people learned about the contest this year and will go out and purchase a Duck Stamp.”
"Congratulations to Sherrie Russell Meline,” said Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young. “The Duck Stamp story is a great story, and its value to all Americans in helping build the national wildlife refuge system, providing places for waterfowl hunters and others who enjoy the outdoors, and protecting millions of acres of wetlands and waterfowl habitat makes it one of the greatest conservation programs of all-time."
“And it's certainly one waterfowl hunters can be proud of. It's that story that makes this event so special,” said Young. “DU and Memphis are proud to play a leadership role in growing the public's awareness of this remarkable conservation and art success story."
All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry Duck Stamps. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp goes into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which purchases wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Russell Meline has entered the Federal Duck Stamp competition 15 times over the last 25 years.
“I am very honored and flattered,” said Russell Meline. “I am completely honored to have been in the competition with the best artists out there, and I’m totally shocked that I won.”
Russell Meline’s winning artwork is a close-up of a Ross’ goose in reeds with several flying birds in the background. She completed the work over a four month period. Russell Meline was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in fine arts. She began her art career doing three-dimensional art, but was inspired to paint waterfowl after she began collecting waterfowl decoys.
While she studies mounts for the fine detail of her paintings, she also spends time watching live birds. “I watch the birds a lot and get to know them,” said Russell Meline.
Russell Meline and her husband own a gallery, Wingbeat, in Mt. Shasta. Her artwork has been used for more than 30 state waterfowl stamps, including Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and Iowa. Over the next four years, she will be working on a commission to paint waterfowl stamps for the 12 provinces of Canada. Her art can be seen at <http://www.wingbeat.com>.
Second place went to Bruce Miller of Mound, Minnesota, who painted a pair of northern shovelers. Third place went to Jim Caturia of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, who also painted a male northern shoveler.
Eligible species for this year's contest were the brant, northern shoveler, Ross' goose, ruddy duck and Canada goose.
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the nation's longest running federally-sponsored art competition. No cash prize is awarded, but winning can boost the professional reputation of even a previously unknown wildlife artist. Winning artists stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of limited editions of prints of their Duck Stamp designs.
There are more than 545 National Wildlife Refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S. territories. A valid Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any refuge open to the public. Refuges offer unparalleled recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching and photography. Duck Stamp dollars have been used to acquire land at hundreds of refuges in nearly every state in the nation.
Duck Stamps bearing this year's winning design will go on sale at post offices, national wildlife refuges, some national retail chain stores, and various sporting-goods stores nationwide July 1, 2006. The 2006-2007 Duck Stamp will be available at select locations in both a self-adhesive format and the traditional gummed format.
The five judges for the competition were chosen by the Secretary of the Interior for their dedication to conservation and their professional expertise. They are:
Photos of the top three paintings are available on the Internet at <http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps>.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year. For more information visit http://www.ducks.org.
Raising funds to ensure excellence in the arts and build a vibrant
cultural community for everyone, Greater Memphis Arts Council is
the 8th largest United Arts Fund in the nation. In addition to
raising almost $3 million annually in support of the arts, the
Arts Council administers Arts Build Communities grants and Student
Ticket Subsidy awards through annual funding from the Tennessee
Arts Commission. The Arts Council also funds arts education through
the Arts for Children & Teachers (ACT) program, which brings the arts to thousands of area schoolchildren every year. Greater Memphis Arts Council, 8 S. Third St., Ste. 300, Memphis, TN 38103,
(901) 578-ARTS, fax (901) 578-2784, http://www.memphisartscouncil.org.
For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast or http://www.fws.gov/.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast. Our national home page is at: http://www.fws.gov/news/newsreleases/, Atlanta, GA 30345, phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286