Artwork from 2,699 school-aged waterfowl artists throughout the state was judged during the 24th Annual California Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Crocker Art Museum on Wednesday and Thursday, March 26 and 27. In California, the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is facilitated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Due to the large number of artwork received, the judging was split into a two-day event. Day one was at the Sacramento NWR in Willows, where a panel of five judges narrowed the selection down to the top 100 for each group. The artwork was judged in four grade groups: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Day two was at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, where the top 25 winners were selected from each group. From these groups, three first, three second, three third 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 was a pair of ruddy ducks by Jonathan Chen, age 15 from Fremont. His 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 on April 18, 2014. The national winner’s design will be made into the 2014-2015 Federal Junior Duck Stamp.
The 2014 judges included: John Carlson Jr., California Waterfowl CEO/President; Andy Atkinson, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist; Dennis Woolington San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex Supervisory Wildlife Biologist; John McCamman, USFWS California Condor Coordinator; Rich Radigonda, Wildlife Artist; Dave Tamori, College Board AP Studio Art Consultant; Jeffry Roderick, Wildlife Artist; George Oberstadt, California Waterfowl Hunting Heritage Supervisor; Marie Strassburger, USFWS Chief of Migratory Bird Program; and Brad Burkholder, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist.
This California Junior Duck Stamp Program is so successful because of the generous and supportive partnerships among the organizations that provide the funding and manpower. Volunteers from the Sacramento NWRC, California Waterfowl, and other partner organizations 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.
Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service