Artwork from over 3,500 school-aged waterfowl artists throughout the state was judged during the 22nd  Annual California Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest (Contest) in Chico, on

Thursday, March 29th. In California, the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is coordinated by

Marilyn Gamette and facilitated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex (SNWRC).

A panel of 10 judges was tasked with selecting 100 winners. The artwork was judged in four age groups: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. From these groups, three 1st, three 2nd, three 3rd place, and 16 honorable mention winners were chosen. Winning designs receive ribbons and all entrants will receive a certificate of appreciation and awards.

One art design earned the distinguished title of California’s Best of Show, which is a pair of Hooded Mergansers, by 17 year old Hyun Wang from Torrance, CA and attends Green Art Studio. Her artwork will be submitted to Washington D.C. to compete with the other states’ Best of Show winners during the National Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, MD, on April 20, 2012. The national winner’s design will be made into the 2012-2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

In addition, three conservation messages were selected from each age group to receive awards. These messages were submitted on the artwork entry form and judged for originality, understanding of wetland and waterfowl conservation, and inspiration. All 100 winning artwork entries and 12 winning conservation messages will be on display throughout the year at various California events.

During the judging, people commented passionately about the generous and supportive partnerships among the organizations that provide the funding and manpower to make this program so successful. The invited 2012 judges included: Jennifer Isola, SNWRC; Margaret Kolar, USFWS Pacific Southwest Region; Mark Hennelly, California Waterfowl; Virginia Getz, Ducks Unlimited; Tina Bartlett, Department of Fish and Game; Marvey Mueller, Snow Goose Festival; Dawn Garcia, Altacal Audubon; Jim Burcio, Pacific Flyway Decoy Association; Donald Bransford, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, and Shane Romain, Community Youth Center Rancho Esquon Campus.

Volunteers from the SNWRC, California Waterfowl, and Central Valley Joint Venture worked on the daunting task of laying out all the artwork, tallying scores, and recording the 100 winners. Additional major sponsors for the program include the California Rice Commission, California Department of Water Resources, and other federal, state, private, and non-profit environmental conservation and education agencies.

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