More than 28,000 students enter state art contests every year, hoping to be selected as the National Junior Duck Stamp Award winner.
The Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program was enacted by Congress in 1994. Duck stamps are sold for $5 each by the U.S. Postal Services and various National Wildlife Refuges. Revenue from the sale of the stamps supports the awards, including a large arts and environmental education program. K-12 students attending public, private or home schools in the United States and the U.S. Territories are eligible to enter, as long as they are American citizens or resident aliens.
Students submit drawings to their state, territory or district competition. Judging is often held on a refuge, such as one at Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge, MN. Winners from these competitions, called the "Best of Show," are then submitted to the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest. One image from the 53 Best of Show entries becomes the next Junior Duck Stamp. The national judging in 2011 was held at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, PA.
The Junior Duck Stamp arts curriculum incorporates scientific and wildlife management principles into a visual arts curriculum. After studying waterfowl anatomy and habitat students demonstrate their newfound knowledge by drawing, painting or sketching a picture of an eligible North American waterfowl species.