Fish & Wildlife Service
2007 Federal Duck Stamp Contest
Reporters’ Tip Sheet
Joshua Winchell: 202/219 7499
Tom MacKenzie: 404/679 7291
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest --
America’s longest-running reality show.
Duck Stamp contest is America’s original reality show:
contestants vie for a prestigious honor... a panel of judges decides
who stays and who goes... the field gets narrowed... the tension builds...
and finally a winner is chosen. The contest was instituted in 1948, and
since then hundreds of talented and ambitious waterfowl artists have
competed for wildlife art’s highest honor: having their design
chosen as the Federal Duck Stamp.
Being Simon Cowell (of wildlife art).
Each year, five judges and one alternate are selected who can critically
judge each Duck Stamp Contest entry based on the artistry and composition,
biological accuracy of the species and habitat depicted, and suitability
of the image to be reproduced as a stamp. Interview a former Duck Stamp
contest judge and find out how tough it really is to choose one winner
from among hundreds of high-quality art entries.
How a star is born.
Interview Duck Stamp contest winners from previous
years who can tell you just how long it takes to create that winning
art and how it feels to get “the call” telling them they’ve
won. Federal Duck Stamp Contest winners receive no prize for their
work other than a pane of Duck Stamps carrying their design. However,
winning artists may reap thousands of dollars by selling prints of
their designs, which are sought after by hunters, conservationists
and art collectors. Winning the contest launches an artist’s
career into a whole new dimension. See every Duck Stamp since 1934,
as well as the names of the
winning artists at http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/federal/stamps/fedimages.htm.
Developing the winners of tomorrow.
You’ve heard of the Federal Duck Stamp, but what about the Junior
Duck Stamp? Kids in Kindergarten through twelfth grade have an art contest
all their own—and on the way to creating their painting of a
duck or goose, they learn about wetlands, wildlife and conservation.
Learn more about this extraordinary program that sees some 30,000 entrants
each year and interview past Junior Duck Stamp winners.
Federal Duck Stamp History --
Journalist changes the course of wildlife conservation.
Just who was “Ding” Darling? A Pulitzer
Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling
was also the father of the Federal Duck Stamp and the director of the
Bureau of Biological Survey (the forerunner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service). Explore his art, his passion for conservation and his leadership
Start with the “Ding” Darling Foundation, http://www.dingdarling.org/index.html,
to see some of “Ding” Darling’s editorial cartoons
and find out more about him. Talk with Kip Koss, “Ding” Darling’s
grandson and author of a compilation of his conservation-related cartoons,
about his grandfather’s lasting legacy.
One stamp -- More than 5 million acres -- More than $700 million.
Since 1934, sales of Federal Duck Stamps have
raised more than $700 million to acquire habitat for national wildlife
refuges in all 50 states. Find out which refuges near you have been
purchased in part with Duck Stamp dollars at http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/Conservation/conservation.html.
Then go visit, meet the refuge manager and explore the refuge to see
the spectacles of wildlife that Duck Stamp dollars have helped protect.
Be green: Buy a Duck Stamp.
Hybrid cars, carbon-neutral travel, compact fluorescent
light bulbs... there are hundreds of ways to “be green” and be kind to the
planet. One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways is to buy a
Federal Duck Stamp. Ninety-eight percent of the $15 you spend on a Duck
Stamp goes directly to saving the planet by purchasing wetland habitat
for our national wildlife refuge system. Protecting wetlands benefits
birds and a host of other wildlife – but people benefit too,
since wetlands help to filter our drinking water. Who knew it was so
easy being green?
A rite of passage, a family tradition.
For many families, waterfowl hunting has been a tradition
for generations. During the Dust Bowl era, wetlands and waterfowl populations
were declining, and waterfowl hunters supported the creation of a revenue
stamp to essentially “tax
themselves” to raise funds for habitat conservation. Since then,
every waterfowl hunter age 16 or older has been required to purchase
a Federal Duck Stamp each year. Interview waterfowl hunters in your area,
such as members of a local Ducks Unlimited or Delta Waterfowl chapter,
and ask them about when they bought their first Duck Stamp and what it
means to invest in the conservation of our nation’s natural resources.
It’s not just for ducks.
It’s known as the Federal Duck Stamp, but millions of birds, mammals,
fish, insects and plants can thank the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation
Stamp for the habitat they dwell on. Duck Stamp dollars are used to acquire
wetland habitat that is home to a variety of wildlife. That’s
why more and more birdwatchers, hikers and others who simply enjoy
nature are buying duck stamps. Talk to your local Audubon Society or
birdwatching group to find out why they are enthusiastically encouraging
their members to buy Duck Stamps.
Buy a Duck Stamp so your kids can connect with nature.
Children today suffer from what one author and researcher
has dubbed “nature-deficit
disorder”— a disconnect from the natural world that can be
linked to the rise in obesity, attention disorders and even depression.
Research shows that direct exposure to nature can affect the physical
and emotional health of both children and adults. In order to make that
connection with nature, people need natural places to go. Ninety-eight
percent of the proceeds from the $15 Federal Duck Stamp go directly to
purchasing habitat for our national wildlife refuge system—creating
places where wildlife thrive and where people can forge that important
bond with their natural world.
For all travel stories, contact: Nancy Hamilton, (NHamilton@leegov.com),
239/338 3500, www.leevcb.com J.N. “Ding” Darling National
Wildlife Refuge comprises more than half of the 10,730-acre Sanibel
Island, making its residents and visitors extraordinarily aware of
wildlife and its habitat. Wildlife tours, birding walks and narrated
hikes are big business on Sanibel Island and sister Captiva Island.
Galleries favor wildlife watercolors and photography. Local hoteliers
and retailers are now working with the refuge to promote the judging
for the 75th Federal Duck Stamp.
One lone saltwater crocodile calls J.N. “Ding” Darling National
Wildlife Refuge home, and adamantly so. Several years ago, she was relocated
to the Everglades, where more of her kind live. A couple of years later,
she returned to live among the refuge’s more predominant alligator
Canoe & Kayak has named the waterways in and around J.N. “Ding” Darling
National Wildlife Refuge among the nation’s 10 top places to paddle.
Tours and rentals are available through the refuge’s concession,
Tarpon Bay Explorers, which also conducts nature tours by electric pontoon
boat. The refuge’s waterways are part of the 100- mile Great
Calusa Blueway paddling trail.
Birder’s World Magazine voted J.N. “Ding” Darling
National Wildlife Refuge as the number three birding spot in the nation.
Birders have logged nearly 300 species at the refuge, most famously
its roseate spoonbills and mangrove cuckoo.
A popular family destination, Sanibel Island boasts year-round beaches
and extensive opportunity for children to learn about the environment
as they play outdoors. The “Ding” Darling Education Center
at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge offers
programs and exhibits designed especially for youngsters.
Seashell collectors count Sanibel Island among the world’s top
destinations. The island’s Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and annual
Sanibel Shell Fair pay homage to its reputation as a seashell Mecca.
Besides shells, Sanibel Island’s beaches are known for its nesting
loggerhead turtles, which are listed as a threatened species by the
federal government. Hatchlings emerge late summer through early fall.
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is part of a “conservation
alley” that runs through the center of Sanibel Island. Other nature
attractions along the way include Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, Sanibel-Captiva
Conservation Foundation’s Nature Center and trails, and the Clinic
for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). J.N. “Ding” Darling
National Wildlife Refuge is user friendly. Visitors can drive, bike,
hike or paddle their way through the refuge. Volunteer “Rovers” along
its Wildlife Drive answer questions and identify species. An observation
tower overlooks waters where birds flock to feed.
“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, the friends group for J.N. “Ding” Darling
National Wildlife Refuge, built its state-ofthe-art Education Centerin
1999, complete with habitat vignettes and interactive exhibits.
Each fall, “Ding” Darling Days celebrates the birthday of
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s namesake.
In its 18th year, it will run from October 8-14, 2007, in conjunction
with the 2007 Federal Duck Stamp Contest. It culminates Sunday, October
14, with a free Family Fun Day at the refuge. (http://www.dingdarlingdays.com)