The Federal Duck Stamp will always have a small place in my heart after I wrote about the documentary, The Million Dollar Duck, which chronicles the artists vying for the right to have their artwork on the stamp.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 2017-18 stamps are now on sale. Here’s the release:
Canada geese are flying to new heights as the stars of the 2017-2018 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, which went on sale today. The 84th Federal Duck Stamp debuted at a special event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Little Rock, Ark.
Painted by five-time Federal Duck Stamp Contest artist James Hautman of Chaska, Minn., the new stamp will raise millions of dollars for habitat conservation to benefit wildlife and the American people. The Federal Duck Stamp plays an important role in wildlife conservation. Since 1934, sales of this iconic stamp have raised more than $950 million to conserve nearly six million acres of wetlands habitat on national wildlife refuges around the nation.
“The American sportsmen heritage is not just something we talk about. Sportsmen and anglers are the strongest wildlife and habitat conservationists around, and the Duck Stamp is the perfect example of this,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “The stamp’s impact goes beyond waterfowl, it also helps provide habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife and clean water for our communities. The lands set aside using Duck Stamp dollars provide opportunities for the American people to enjoy the great outdoors through hunting, fishing, and birdwatching, and help ensure this piece of American heritage will endure for generations.”
Last fall, a panel of five judges chose Hautman’s art from among 152 entries in the 2016 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. His fifth win puts him in elite company: Only two other artists – one of them his brother, Joseph – have won five first-place awards.
“The Federal Duck Stamp is the nation’s most unique and successful conservation stamp. This program has been fueled largely by waterfowl hunters, who are required to buy a Duck Stamp each year and often buy more than one,” said Greg Sheehan, Service acting director. “Birders and other outdoors enthusiasts, artists and stamp collectors also buy Duck Stamps, recognizing their benefit to species and habitat conservation beyond waterfowl, as well as their artistic value.”
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $25 Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetlands conservation for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee. The Service is responsible for managing more than 850 million acres of lands and waters in the Refuge System, including 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Refuges offer world-class public recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation to photography and environmental education.
The 2017-2018 Junior Duck Stamp, which also went on sale today, features a pair of trumpeter swans painted by Isaac Schreiber, 12, of Duffield, Va. Judges selected his entry as the winner during the Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest in April from among the best-of-show winners from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
The national contest is the culmination of a year-long educational program that helps students explore their natural world and learn about wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Competing artists submit a “visual term paper” – a drawing or painting of a goose, duck or swam – to demonstrate what they learned. The winning art is made into a stamp that raises funds to support youth conservation education. Some 3,000 Junior Duck Stamps are sold annually for $5 each.
The 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest to select the 2018-2019 stamp will be held Sept. 15 and 16 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The new Duck Stamps are available for purchase online, at many sporting goods and retail stores, and some post offices and national wildlife refuges. Find all buying options at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.
Learn more about the Federal and Junior Duck Stamps at https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.