First Day of 2005-2006 Duck Stamp Sales in Southeast Helps Provide Vital Funds for Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today joined with the U.S. Postal Service, Ducks Unlimited, Atlanta Audubon Society, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Georgia Wildlife Federation at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Lawrenceville, Georgia to announce the first day of sales for duck stamps.
The 2005-2006 Federal Duck Stamp shows a pair of hooded mergansers on a golden pool of water by artist Mark Anderson of South Dakota. Anderson won the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-sponsored, stamp-art competition last fall against 223 other entries from across the nation. Similarly, students across the country compete annually in a Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest. The winner of this year’s Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest is Kerissa Wilson, 17, of Wisconsin. Her artwork shows two ring-necked ducks.
“Nationwide, since the 1930’s, more than $700 million in stamp sales has protected more than 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “More than $38 million in duck stamp funds was used toward the purchase of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Arkansas – the refuge where the Ivory-billed woodpecker, considered extinct for 61 years, was recently discovered.”
Duck Stamps or Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps were created in 1934 and are required along with hunting licenses to hunt migratory waterfowl. Waterfowl hunters, 16 or older, are required to have a current federal duck stamp in their possession during hunts.
In the Southeast, nearly $202 million in migratory bird funding since the 1930s has protected about 904,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge System habitat.
Today’s customers were among the first to buy this year’s commemorative, pictorial stamps which are a major source of funding for migratory bird conservation in the United States.
The stamps, produced by the Postal Service for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, contribute funding for wetland conservation. Almost one-third of the nation’s federally-listed endangered and threatened species depend on wetland habitat for their survival.
Additionally, possession of a current year’s Duck Stamp serves as an entrance pass to all National Wildlife Refuges that charge admission and are open to the public. Duck stamps have also become popular collector’s items and are purchased by other outdoor enthusiasts, such as birders, to protect wetlands habitats vital to a variety of wildlife
“A $15 duck stamp purchase is a sound investment for the environment,” Hamilton said. “A total of 98 cents of every dollar generated from duck stamp sales goes to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.”
Duck stamps are available for sale at Post Offices, many sporting goods and outdoor stores, and from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service licensed vendors, such as Bass Pro Shops and Ducks Unlimited. For more information, please visit the Duck Stamp Office web site at http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/.
Wildlife artists and experts serve on a panel of judges for this annual contest and it is considered highly prestigious to be selected as the winner of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
Renowned stamp engraver Czeslaw Slania designed this year’s Federal Duck Stamp. Although not able to finish the engraving, he did finish the preliminary stamp design and intaglio study before his death on March 17, 2005. Piotr Naszarkowski, his protégé and associate, did the actual stamp engraving. Naszarkowski has engraved about 75 stamps primarily for European postal administrations and the United States Postal Service.
For the Junior Duck Stamp contest, students from around the country submit drawings of North American waterfowl species to their area competitions. Winners from these competitions, called Best of Show, are then submitted to the Design Contest. One image from 53 Best of Show entries will become the next Junior Duck Stamp.
Junior Duck Stamps are sold for $5 each and the proceeds provide funding for state environmental and conservation education programs. Junior Duck Stamps are available at post offices, the Amplex Corporation, and at various National Wildlife Refuges. Please see the Duck Stamp Office website for more information.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.
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