2021 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program

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The Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Education and Design Program is a fun, free activity for kids K-12. Combining art and science, it encourages curiosity about waterfowl and the wetland habitats they rely on.

At Willapa National Wildlife Refuge we have an active Junior Duck Stamp program that has involved students from area schools, many of whom have entered their work in the annual Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

This national program is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in 2021, will be temporarily coordinated out of the Migratory Birds and Habitat Program office in Portland, Oregon. The program encourages students to explore science, conservation, and the arts in a unique learning opportunity. The annual art contest encourages students to observe wildlife and create their vision of the colorful, winged waterfowl that grace wetlands across North America. The objective is to create an original depiction of waterfowl while learning about waterfowl and wetland habitats and submit it to the contest; the program works as a class project or for individual students!

In Washington, the top placing entrants receive certificates, ribbons, and prizes. A Best of Show will be selected and submitted to represent Washington state in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition. The first three place national winners receive scholarship prizes, and the overall national winner’s art becomes the design for a commemorative art stamp.

The entry deadline is March 15, 2021 and this year we have a temporary mailing address for entries. Please mail all entries to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/MBHP, Junior Duck Stamp Contest, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232.

Virtual Classroom Visits

Are you a teacher, scout leader, or other adult who would like a volunteer to virtually visit your students through Zoom? We offer these visits from November through February. We spend a class period exploring the waterfowl and wetlands of Willapa NWR through a PowerPoint presentation, and a brief quiz, with plenty of time for students to ask questions. We can also spend additional time helping students create artwork featuring native ducks, geese and swans, to be included for entry in the Junior Duck Stamp Contest. We can work with your schedule- contact us at jrduckstamp@friendsofwillaparefuge.org for more details or to request a virtual visit.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are suspending in-person classroom visits from our volunteers for the 2020-2021 school year. There are still many ways for children to participate in the program, including virtual classroom visits over Zoom, and teacher or self-directed participation using the resources provided here. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact our local Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator Rebecca Lexa at jrduckstamp@friendsofwillaparefuge.org.


You don’t have to be an art or science teacher! All teachers are welcome to make use of the Junior Duck Stamp resources available here and on the USFWS Junior Duck Stamp Website. Here are some ways to work the Junior Duck Stamp curriculum into your class:

  • Art: What is a Junior Duck Stamp, and what are some examples of previous years’ stamps? How can students create their own art featuring native waterfowl? For older students, how might this activity be a good example of using reference photos for correct anatomy and coloration?
  • Natural Sciences: What are waterfowl, and why do they need the wetlands and other habitats at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge? Why are estuaries so important to these birds? How do scientists use research and data to help Refuges and other public lands in conserving wildlife and their habitats?
  • History: What is the history of the National Wildlife Refuge system and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service? What were the circumstances under which the Federal Duck Stamp Program was first begun, and why has it become such a successful program? When did the Junior Duck Stamp Program begin and how is it related to the Federal Duck Stamp Program?
  • Geography: What are flyways, and where are the main flyways in North America? Why might waterfowl choose certain places to stop along the flyway, for example wetlands instead of mountains? Are there similar migration routes in other parts of the world?
  • Social Studies: What was the sociopolitical climate like in the United States when the Federal Duck Stamp Program began in 1934, and how did the program reflect that time? How have Federal Duck Stamps and Junior Duck Stamps benefited Americans and the natural resources we enjoy since then?
  • English: What is nature writing, and how are nature writers inspired by the animals, plants, and habitats around them? (You can share examples of nature writing and ask students to try their hand at nature writing, perhaps having them visit a natural place near their home. You may also have students create a Conservation Message, a brief sentence or two about why we should protect waterfowl and their habitats. students who choose to enter the Junior Duck Stamp Contest can include their Conservation Message on their entry form as there is a separate contest for the best Conservation Message.


If you have a child who would like to explore the Junior Duck Stamp curriculum on their own, here are some ideas to get started:

  • Read the Willapa NWR Junior Duck Stamp Lesson and complete the quiz at the end. (Have the child write their answers to each question before they look at the answers on the next slide.)
  • Choose activities to complete from the Junior Duck Stamp Youth Guide. You can either work through the book in order, or choose individual activities that seem especially appealing or relevant.
  • Go for a drive or walk around Willapa Bay, Tarlatt Slough, and other waterways on or near Willapa NWR, and see if you find any waterfowl there. Write down any species you can identify, and try drawing them when you get home. Or if the weather is nice, try recording them with a nature journal using writing and art!
  • Create artwork for the Junior Duck Stamp Contest. It’s okay if the first piece of art you create isn’t your favorite; you can make more as long as you pick one to send in by March 15th. Consult the Art Contest Checklist to make sure you do everything on the list.
  • Share what you’ve learned with the rest of your family. This could be a report, an art project, even a play or other performance!