Lake Bemidji State Park is hosting the 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Traveling Exhibit Sept. 8-20. The exhibit displays the works of Minnesota’s talented young artists in grades K-12 who are the winners of this year’s competition. The art work depicts North American waterfowl in various mediums.

“We’re excited to join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in encouraging youth to take part in the Junior Duck Stamp program,” said Pete Harrison, Lake Bemidji State Park manager. “We hope parents and aspiring young artists will visit the park to view this incredible display of talent.”

The Best of Show artwork was drawn by Keaton Van’t Hull, age 17, of St. Michael. The Minnesota Conservation Message Winner is Hannah Angell, age 12, of Andover. Hannah’s statement, “Surrounded by nature, surrounded by opportunity,” along with Keaton’s Best of Show artwork, a pencil drawing of a Bufflehead, advanced to the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest held in April at Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland. Keaton placed in the top five at the contest.

“This year’s contest had extraordinary waterfowl images from Minnesota’s talented young artists,” said Mara Koenig, Minnesota coordinator of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program. “Their art communicates the importance of wetlands for not only wildlife, but also for people to enjoy.”

The National Junior Duck Stamp program uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school. It provides an opportunity for students to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.

In 2012, more than 1,170 Minnesota youngsters participated in the program. Artwork entries are judged on the basis of original design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a 1-inch by 1.5-inch stamp.

The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year. The $5 Junior Duck Stamp is available at the U.S. Postal Service or at many national wildlife refuges. Proceeds from stamp sales support conservation education, and provide awards and scholarships for participating students, teachers and schools.

More information about the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is available at www.fws.gov/juniorduck.

Lake Bemidji State Park is located at 3401 State Park Road NE in Bemidji. The exhibit is free and open for viewing Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. All vehicles must have a valid state park pass to enter the park ($5 daily or $25 annual). For more information, call the park at 218-308-2300 or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/lake_bemidji/index.html.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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