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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
External Affairs Provides Speech for Deputy Regional Director at Duck Stamp Event
Region 9, June 22, 2007

Rachel F. Levin, an outreach specialist in External Affairs, wrote the speech that DRD Charlie Wooley delivered at the Federal Duck Stamp First Day of Sale event at Bass Pro Shops world headquarters in Springfield, Mo., on June 22.

Following is the text of the speech (as written):

Good morning.  On behalf of Regional Director Robyn Thorson, welcome to the Midwest Region.


I have the distinct pleasure of introducing to you a talented young man who may one day be standing in the shoes of our Federal Duck Stamp artist. 


Paul Willey won the 2007 National Junior Duck Stamp contest with his beautiful painting of American wigeons. 


His artwork was made into the Junior Duck Stamp.  I hope you will all buy one today to support this important program, which—like the Federal Duck Stamp program – is about much more than just a pretty picture.


Increasing evidence shows that a relationship with the natural world helps children become healthier in body and mind.  The Junior Duck Stamp program is a wonderful gateway to that relationship.


As Dale mentioned, bringing children closer to nature can also help to forge a lifelong appreciation for conserving our wild things and wild places.  We are cultivating future conservationists, and future Fish and Wildlife Service employees as well.


This year’s Junior Duck Stamp Contest was held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  The five judges had some tough decisions to make but they chose a terrific piece of art to be this year’s Junior Duck Stamp.


Before I ask Paul to join me, let me tell you about the other top national Junior Duck Stamp contestants.


Third place went to Paige Brevick, a 17-year-old from my neck of the woods – Minnesota.  Paige also took third place in the Junior Duck Stamp conservation message competition with her message: “Conservation is the museum that preserves the art of nature.”


Second place in this year’s Junior Duck Stamp contest went to Madelyn Yohn, an 18-year old from Pennsylvania.


Paul Willey’s mixed media painting of American wigeon was judged the best among more than 50 entries.  But this should come as a surprise to no one, since this young man has been entering Junior Duck Stamp Competition since he was twelve years old.


That first year, he won first place in his age division in the Arkansas state competition.  He has entered every year since, winning Arkansas Best of Show four times.


Paul is now 18 years old, and he says the Junior Duck Stamp Program has been instrumental in broadening his knowledge of conservation and expanding his artistic repertoire.

His teacher, Suzanne Kunkel, who is here today, introduced him to the Junior Duck Stamp contest and has encouraged him in his quest for a national win.


Paul began drawing at a young age and realized it was what he loved doing. He says he uses art as a way of expressing his passion for the beauty of our natural world. 


Paul lives in Conway, Arkansas, with his parents.  He draws inspiration for his art from an abundance of forests and wildlife and ponds surrounding him. 


Paul plans to use art in his future.  He is going to the University of Central Arkansas where he will study art and pursue an art related career.


I should note that Paul is a double winner in this year’s Junior Duck Stamp contest.  Not only did his painting take top honors, but the judges also chose his conservation message as the winner.


This was purely coincidence, as the art and conservation message portions are judged separately, and anonymously. 


Paul’s winning message was: “Conservation is the key to a better environment for all” – something I think we can all agree with.


Congratulations to Paul, his parents, his teacher and the Arkansas Junior Duck Stamp state coordinator.  You can all be very proud of this talented young man.


And now, please help me welcome the 2007 Junior Duck Stamp artist, Paul Willey.

No contact information available. Please contact Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, larry_dean@fws.gov