Junior Duck Stamp Program

Each volunteer assignment we’ve had has challenged us to learn things about the habitat, wildlife, and culture; then take on tasks new to us in support of the Park or Refuge. That’s been our goal all along the way and it’s been very rewarding.

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is living up to our expectations. We have roved and spent time at the different locations that make up the complex to share information with visitors and the experience of learning to identify waterfowl has been exciting. And some here say they see Bald Eagles all the time, but it never gets old to us!

Recently our schedule changed and we no longer rove, now we are concentrating on the Junior Duck Stamp Program (JDS) Art Contest. I have been entering artist info into an Access database and Ken is the Conservation Message Master, which is a glorified title for the person who transfers a student’s conservation message onto a sticky note and hangs it on the board for others to vote on. (Note: He loves this job and excels at his work.)

The Refuge is expecting to receive nearly 3,000 JDS art contest entries this month from K-12 students all over California and so far we’ve seen a few really good drawings and paintings. The majority of the work submitted so far has been from 7-9 year old who attend public schools. It will be interesting to watch this process to completion and rewarding to help make it all happen.

According to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge website, “This program is a dynamic arts and science curriculum designed to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. Using scientific and wildlife observation principles, the program helps students visually communicate what they have learned by creating an entry for their state’s JDS art contest. Judges select 25 winners from each of the four grade groups for prizes and one “Best of Show” winner who is entered in a national art competition. The winning national art entry is made into a conservation stamp. In 2016, Stacy Shen, age 16 from Fremont, won nationals and her art was made in the $5 conservation stamp.
Students may also submit a conservation message. Three conservation message winners are selected from each group and one is chosen to compete at nationals. In 2014, a student from California won 1st place and received $200. Prizes for the top 25 art winners for each group, conservation message prizes, and many other prizes are given out in California.

This nontraditional pairing of subjects brings new interest to both science and the arts. It crosses cultural, ethnic, social and geographic boundaries to teach greater awareness of our nation’s natural resources. The program provides an opportunity for students to express artistically their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence, and beauty of wildlife.”

Maybe we will have the chance to share a picture of this year’s winning entry with you, but for now here’s a copy of a previous winner’s art converted to an actual stamp. Maybe you will be inspired by it!

Wishing you an early Spring,

Dorothy & Ken

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