Young Delaware wildlife artists will be in the spotlight this Saturday, March 24, during the annual Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Competition. Beginning at 1 p.m. at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna, entries created by students in grades K through 12 from all over the state will be judged by a panel of artists, wildlife professionals and waterfowl enthusiasts.

All participants in the 18th annual contest will receive a certificate, while first, second, third and honorable mention will receive ribbons and prizes from sponsors. Entries, which should depict a species chosen from a list of North American waterfowl, were sponsored by teachers, schools, organizations and individuals. The best of show winner will be judged along with other state winners from all over the nation in April at the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of the Interior and slated to be held this year at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Md.

The 2012 Junior Duck Stamp judges for art design are: David Saveikis, director, Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife; retired wildlife biologist Bill Whitman, who founded the Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Contest in 1994; well-known wildlife artist and Federal Duck Stamp Competition winner Richard Clifton of Milford; Dan Stotts, biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Richard Berry, member of the Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish and Ducks Unlimited. Judges base their decisions on anatomical accuracy of the waterfowl depicted, how well the work illustrates the species and its habitat, and which artwork would translate best into a stamp. The judges for this year’s conservation message are: Michael Stroeh, Bombay Hook refuge manager, and Rachel Emory, biological aide with the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

This year’s Junior Duck Stamp winners will be on public display in the visitor center at Bombay Hook refuge through Saturday, April 7. The artwork will then be displayed at various locations and special events in the year ahead.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located at 2591 Whitehall Neck Road, Smyrna, DE 19977, off Route 9 east of the town of Smyrna.  The refuge’s visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset; entrance fees apply. For more information about the refuge, please visit www.fws.gov/northeast/bombayhook.

For more information about displaying the artwork or about the Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Contest, please contact Dawn Webb, contest coordinator, 302-422-1329.

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