What is this Program?
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp is a nationwide program coordinated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designed to teach the importance of conserving our wetlands habitat and waterfowl to students. It pairs science, the arts, and other core subjects to creatively teach greater awareness of our natural resources.
Teachers can choose from a variety of lessons to get across concepts of ecology, conservation, and civic action. At the same time, challenge students with assignments for writing, oral presentations, data collection, graphing, mapping, and much more.
As part of the program, students are invited to participate in an annual art competition. Creating an entry is a valuable experience. It helps students tie together lessons on animal form and function, plant science, observation, wetland habitats, and more. In the visual arts, students practice sketching, drawing, painting, and composition.
The art competition is open to students from kindergarten to grade 12. Enter through school (public or private), homeschool, or on your own.
A Quick History
Florida piloted the first local contest in 1989. Soon other states were following the example. Tennessee got involved in 1995. The program grew rapidly, and now all states and the District of Columbia participate. For a list of the program coordinators for each state, click here.
1992 was the first time a sheet of Federal Junior Duck stamps was printed, and it included nine state Best of Show winners from 1991 and 1992. After that, a national competition was instituted, with the top winning art printed as a stamp and sold to raise funds for conservation education. For information on how you can purchase your Federal Junior Duck Stamp through the U.S. Postal Service, click here.
In Tennessee, the program is run under the office of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge with the help of partners such as the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, and Bass Pro Shops . The program has now blossomed to attracting an average of 500 of the top student waterfowl artists and provides a prestigious awards ceremony for the top 100 winning students.
For the past seven years, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has taken the Tennessee Best of Show winning artwork and produced a state waterfowl stamp sold for conservation education.
Entering the Competition
All entries for the Tennessee art competition are due on March 15 each year. Click here to print the rules and entry form for this free competition. Please keep in mind two key rules. First, the species of waterfowl you draw must be a native North American duck, goose, or swan. For a list of qualifying species, click here. Second, all entries must be drawn horizontally and be 9" high by 12" wide. For some tips on creating your entry, click here.
Soon after the annual entry deadline, the artwork is judged by a panel of experts. The judges change each year, but the panel typically includes a combination of waterfowl biologists, artists, and natural resource professionals. The art is separated into four grade groups (K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12), and each group is judged independently. Once the first place winners for each group have been selected, they are viewed again to select a single Best of Show for the state.
Award Ceremony and Prizes
When students submit an entry in the Tennessee competition, they have the chance to win some great prizes and even attend an awards ceremony at the Bass Pro Shop in Nashville, TN.
- Every entry will receive a Certificate of Participation.
- 100 Tennessee students (25 in each grade group) receive beautiful first, second, third, or honorable mention ribbons (groups are K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12).
- 36 first, second and third place winners will receive special engraved Junior Duck Stamp plaques.
- The Tennessee Best of Show winner receives the Jeanette Rudy $1,000 college scholarship, and their artwork on the state waterfowl stamp.
- The Tennessee Best of Show will go on to compete in the national Junior Duck Stamp contest..
- The first place national winner receives a $5,000 cash award, a free trip to Washington, D.C. with parent and teacher, to attend the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, and his/her winning design is used on the Federal Junior Duck Stamp.
- The second place national winner receives a $3,000 cash award; and the third place national winner receives a $2,000 cash award. National top ten, $500, National Conservation Message first place, $500; second place, $300; third place, $200.
Materials for Teachers
The Junior Duck Stamp Program uses the environment as the theme to creatively teach and reinforce core subjects. In 2012 a new curriculum was produced to help teachers and students participate fully in the program .