A Tradition of Conservation and
the Arts Comes to the Midwest
The Midwest has a long tradition of wildlife conservation, waterfowl hunting and arts appreciation. These traditions will come together this October as Minnesota plays host—for the first time ever—to the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The winning design chosen by a panel of five judges during the contest will be made into the 2009-2010 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or "Duck Stamp," the cornerstone of one of the world’s most successful conservation programs.
The 2008 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held Oct. 17 and 18 at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1800 West Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, Minn. A number of associated events sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners will take place during the weeks leading up to the contest.
Hosting the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest in the Twin Cities is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites people to be a part of history. The contest judging is free and open to the public.
Since the inception of the Federal Duck Stamp program in 1934, sales of Duck Stamps have generated more than $700 million to acquire and preserve more than 5.2 million acres of migratory waterfowl habitat, including many waterfowl production areas that are part of the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. No other program can match that cost-effectiveness.
Though waterfowl hunters 16 or older are required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp, these stamps are not just for hunters anymore. Birders, conservationists and anyone interested in preserving wildlife and their habitat can contribute to conservation by purchasing a Duck Stamp. Federal Duck Stamps are also highly sought after by stamp and wildlife art collectors. And a valid Federal Duck Stamp provides free admission into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee.
You can also see the benefits of Federal Duck Stamps at waterfowl production areas across the Midwest. The Service’s Small Wetlands Program, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, uses Duck Stamp dollars to acquire high quality wetland and grassland habitat across the Prairie Pothole Region of the upper Midwest.
These tracts of land are managed as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, protecting critical habitat for grassland nesting songbirds, shorebirds and wading birds, in addition to waterfowl. Many waterfowl production areas are open to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation including hunting, fishing, bird watching, photography and environmental education.
In the 50 years since the Fish and Wildlife Service began protecting waterfowl production areas, the Small Wetlands Program has been used to acquire more than 695,000 acres in fee and perpetually protect an additional 2.1 million acres by easements – all paid for using Duck Stamp dollars.
The Federal Duck Stamp Program also nurtures this nation’s future conservationists by sponsoring the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program, which for the past 16 years has helped children connect with their natural world through arts and science education.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information about the Federal Duck Stamp Program and to find out how to purchase Federal Duck Stamps, visit http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps.