Ducks on Display at College

Time is running out to see the 2011 Washington State Federal Junior Duck Stamp exhibit, currently on display at Centralia College’s Washington Hall. The art exhibit will be taken down by its caretakers, Lewis County local ARTrails artists Byrn and JoAnne Watson, of Centralia, Saturday afternoon.

“These kids are very, very good artists,” said Byrn, “and it’s a great learning opportunity for them. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp program is geared towards promoting the arts, nature and the environment.”

Enter the 2012 Junior Duck Stamp Competition: Deadline, March 15

K-12 students attending public, private, or home schools in the United States and the U.S. Territories are eligible to enter the competition. Students submissions must be a drawing, painting or sketching a picture of an eligible North American waterfowl species (see website for details).

Entry forms and contest guidelines are available online at www.fws.gov/juniorduck/ArtContest.htm.

For more information please contact Michael Schramm at (360) 753-9467 or email michael_schramm@fws.gov.

And because the purpose of this program is to connect students K-12 to learn about habitat conservation through art education, students are now encouraged, but not required, to include a conservation message on their entry form with their art design.

Byrn and JoAnne Watson are members of the local ARTrails of Southwest Washington group; JoAnne serves as treasurer for the organization. The couple enjoys sharing their wood sculpture art, their home studio and their love of birds each fall with the art loving public.

“About 4 years ago, my wife and me became involved in the (Junior Duck Stamp) program when we approached the Nisqually NWR and asked if we could take the artwork and display it throughout the state,” said Byrn. “They were reluctant at first, but decided to make prints of the artwork for a traveling display.”

“We were involved in the program when we lived in California,” Byrn said. “We moved up here 8 years ago, we’ve been kind of adopted by Nisqually NWR and the Washington State Junior Duck Stamp program.”

The travelling exhibit of youth art has grown with each passing year. This year Watsons have trucked the travelling art exhibit to Vancouver, Richland, Willipa Bay, Ridgefield NWR and other various locations.

“We call ourselves Wanna-be Birders,” said Byrn, “we know our duck, geese and shorebirds very well, but we are still learning about the other birds.”

Thirty-six of the winning entries from Washington State are currently on display along with “Best of Class” winning artwork, an American Widgeon—a familiar winter visitor to the ponds and lakes in Lewis County. This 2011 winning artwork was created by McKenna Beckman of Camus, Washington and was entered into last year’s national competition.

“Close to 300 were entered in the competition last year,” said Byrn, “My wife (JoAnne) was on the panel of judges for Washington State.”

The Junior Duck Stamp contest begins each spring when students submit their artwork to a state or territory contest. Students at the state level are judged in four groups according to grade level: Group I: K-3, Group II: 4-6, Group III: 7-9, and Group IV 10-12. Three first, second and third place entries are selected for each group.

A “Best of Show” is selected from the twelve first-place winners, regardless of their grade group. Each state or territory Best of Show is then submitted to the Duck Stamp Office and entered into the national Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

The first place design from the national contest is used to create a Junior Duck Stamp for the following year. Junior Duck Stamps are sold by the U.S. Postal Service and Amplex Corporation consignees for $5 per stamp. Proceeds from the sale of Junior Duck Stamp support conservation education, and provide awards and scholarships for the students, teachers, and schools that participate in the program.

•••

Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at kim@almostdailynews.com.