Cash prizes offered in duck-stamp contest

Artists in grades kindergarten through 12 are encouraged to grab their paint sets and sketch pads and prepare to compete for cash prizes by submitting entries in the 2006 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program.

The Junior Duck Stand Conservation and Design Program us an integrated art and science program designed to teach wetlands habitat and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school, a spokesperson said.

The program is a tool for children to learn about waterfowl and their habitats, and provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their artistic talents.

“We received 100 entries from 12 schools and 1 art studio last year, and hope to increase that number for this year’s contest,” said Sandra Hall, coordinator for the contest in Hawai’i.

“We usually receive many nene drawings, but numerous other waterfowl species may also be depicted, including our native koloa and Laysan duck.”

Entries will be judged on four grade groups, with awards being given to the top three contestants in each group. A State Best of Show will be chosen from the 12 first-place-winning designs, and the winner will compete in the national contest in Washington, D.C.

The first-place national winner receives at $5,000 cash award and a free trip to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2006 to attend the first day of sales ceremony, along with one parent and the art teacher.

The national first-place-winning design is used to produce the Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

The second-place national winner receives at $3,000 cash award, and the third-place winner receives a $2,000 cash award.

In addition to the national awards for the State Best of Show art entries, cash awards will also be given for the best conservation message, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson said.

The conservation message cash awards ($500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place) will be chosen from the State Best of Show entries competing at the national level.

On a local level, art supplies will be awarded to winners.

“We’re also awarding art supplies to teachers of our top award winners so they get to benefit from the program as well as the students,” Hall said.

The contest is modeled after the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, sponsored annually by leaders of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which selects a design for the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (commonly known as the Duck Stamp).

Waterfowl hunters on the Mainland are required to purchase the $15 duck stamp each year. The $5 Junior Duck Stamps are not mandatory, and all proceeds from sales go directly back into the conservation-educational program.

Entries are welcome from home-schooled students and those in art classes, as well as from students in schools.

All entries must be post-marked no later than March 15, and sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Office, Room 5-311, Box 50187, Honolulu, HI 96850.

For more information, please contact state coordinator Sandra Hall, 1- 808-792-9530.

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 spokesperson said.

Employees of the service manage the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges.

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