Ruddy ducks took center stage today for hunters, conservationists and stamp collectors as the new Federal Duck Stamp went on sale. The 82nd Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp debuted at a special event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bass Pro at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis, Tenn. Partners from Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Postal Service also participated in the event.
The 2015-2016 Federal Duck Stamp features a pair of ruddy ducks painted by wildlife artist Jennifer Miller of Olean, N.Y. Last fall, a panel of five judges chose Miller’s art from among 186 entries at the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Miller is the third woman ever to win the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
The stamps are available for purchase online, at many sporting goods and retail stores, and at some post offices and national wildlife refuges. Go to http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php for all buying options.
The Federal Duck Stamp is the nation’s most unique and successful conservation stamp. Sales of the stamp have raised more than $800 million to protect more than 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife. This effort has largely been fueled by waterfowl hunters, who are required to buy a Duck Stamp each year. Birders and other outdoors enthusiasts, artists and stamp collectors also contribute to conservation by buying Duck Stamps.
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetland acquisition and conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any refuge that charges an entry fee. More than 560 refuges offer unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.
This year’s Federal Duck Stamp will cost $25 — up from $15 last year. This is the first price increase for the stamp in 24 years— the longest single period without an increase in the program’s history. The increased price of the duck stamp will allow the Service to devote more funds to conserving wetlands habitat that benefits birds and many other species.
A pair of wood ducks painted by Andrew Kneeland, 17, of Rock Springs, Wyo., is depicted on the new Junior Duck Stamp, which also went on sale today. Kneeland’s art was chosen from among best-of-show winners from states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories at the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest held in April at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W. Va.
The Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long educational program that helps students learn about wetlands and waterfowl conservation, explore their natural world and create a painting or drawing of a duck, goose or swan as their “visual term paper” to demonstrate what they learned.
The winning art at a national contest is made into a stamp the Service sells for $5 to conservationists, educators, students and the public. Proceeds support conservation education. Sales of Junior Duck Stamps have raised well over $1 million, which has been re-invested in this unique conservation arts and science education program.
The 2015 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held Sept. 18 and 19, 2015, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W. Va.
Learn more about the Federal and Junior duck stamps at www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.
Article by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.