Attention all creative young artists and art educators in Connecticut! Entries are now being accepted for the 2023 Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition.
This annual competition is coordinated and sponsored by the Connecticut Waterfowl Association, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wildlife Division. The competition is part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) environmental education program known as the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program.
In an effort to encourage more young people to explore the natural world and increase conservation awareness, the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp “Best in Show” winner will be featured as the 2024 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp! The "Best in Show" winner will also be an entry for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest.
The Connecticut Duck Stamp (also known as the Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp) historically featured a painting of a native waterfowl species created by a professional artist. However, starting with the competition held in 2020, the Conservation Stamp Committee made the decision to feature the artwork of a Connecticut student on the annual state Duck Stamp.
This competition is open to all students, kindergarten through grade 12, who are Connecticut residents. To enter, students create and submit a drawing or painting featuring native waterfowl (ducks or geese). There is no cost, and submissions must be postmarked by March 15, 2023.
Details on the contest, including entry forms and a reference sheet (required for students in grades 7-12 to verify the authenticity of the student's work), can be found on the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-CT-Duck-Stamp.
Submitted artwork will be judged in four groups according to grade level, encouraging artists of all ages and ability levels to be inspired and join in the contest’s creative fun and learning. First, second, and third-place entries will be selected from each group, and prizes will be awarded. A “Best in Show” is selected by the judges from the 12 first-place winners. The “Best in Show”, in addition to being featured on the Connecticut Duck Stamp, is then entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, which is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The first-place design from the nationwide contest is used to create a national Junior Duck Stamp for the following year.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is a unique, multidisciplinary curriculum aligned with national science and visual arts education standards. Through art, it teaches students about wetland and waterfowl conservation, migration, and land stewardship. It encourages youth to explore their natural world with a new perspective by inviting them to investigate biology and wildlife management and challenging them to express and share what they have learned with others. More information about the USFWS Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program, including helpful youth and educator guides, is available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at https://www.fws.gov/program/junior-duck-stamp.
Since 1993, the sale of Duck Stamps has generated more than $1.5 million for Connecticut wetland conservation initiatives while also promoting the arts and conservation for local students. Proceeds from the sale of all Connecticut Duck Stamps and artwork reproductions are deposited in the Connecticut Duck Stamp Account, which is the sole source of money for many of the wetland projects that are conducted in our state. Duck Stamp dollars are responsible for:
- The restoration and enhancement of over 3,845 acres of wetlands in the state, mostly on state-owned wildlife management areas.
- The purchase of 75 acres of critical wildlife habitat.
- The completion of habitat projects at over 50 sites statewide.
Approximately 274 birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles of the state that rely upon clean, healthy wetlands have benefitted from Duck Stamp funded projects.
Migratory bird hunters are required to purchase a Connecticut Duck Stamp; however, all wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to buy an annual stamp to help fund wetland conservation and enhancement projects. Connecticut stamps cost $17 and can be purchased anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold or through Connecticut’s Online Outdoor Licensing System (https://portal.ct.gov/CTOutdoorLicenses) under the "Other" category. Stamps can also be purchased from DEEP’s License and Revenue office by sending a check for $17 to DEEP License and Revenue, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106 (ordered stamps will be sent through the mail).