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Wyoming Vies for Back-to-Back Junior Duck Stamp Titles

Wyoming took home the Junior Duck Stamp Program's top prize for the first time last year with Andrew Kneeland's portrait of a pair of wood ducks. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Wyoming took home the Junior Duck Stamp Program's top prize for the first time last year with Andrew Kneeland's portrait of a pair of wood ducks. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
February 18, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wy. - Junior Duck Stamp season is heating up with the March 15 deadline just around the corner, and all eyes are on Wyoming to see if one of its young people can bring home the national prize for a second year in a row.

Katie Theule, state contest coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says last year's painting of a pair of wood ducks by Rock Springs teenager Andrew Kneeland set the bar pretty high for this year's competitors.

"This is the first time anyone from Wyoming has won the national junior duck stamp competition," says Theule. "And it's pretty awesome to have a local artist here being featured on a nationally printed and circulated stamp."

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the contest's sponsor, many students who participated over the years have become full-time wildlife artists and conservation professionals.

More than 2,400 students submitted works in 2015 hoping to make the cover of the $5 stamp, which helps fund education and conservation.

This year's entries must be postmarked by March 15 and mailed or delivered to the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.

Theule says more than 700 students participated in Wyoming last year and 100 won prizes, ranging from art supplies to wildlife magazine subscriptions.

But she says the program's real value is tapping kids' natural curiosity about wildlife and the outdoors, and the confidence they gain expressing themselves creatively.

"It teaches kids about wildlife, conservation, wetlands, waterfowl as they prepare their painting and they do their research for it," Theule says. "Or, of course, if it's just the younger kids they just have fun painting ducks."

Theule says the program comes with a variable science curriculum that matches every age level, and all of the state's K-through-12 students are eligible to participate.

For more information and a complete set of rules, visit fws.gov.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY