Duck stamps have been around since 1934 with the first duck stamps designed by J. N. "Ding" Darling. Waterfowl hunters aged 16 or older are required to purchase a duck stamp. The stamps cost $15 and 98 cents out of every dollar is used to either purchase or lease wetlands which become protected by the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since the beginning of the program, more than $750 million have been raised to conserve over 5.3 million acres of wetlands. (Questions about Duck Stamps?)
The Jr. Duck Stamp Program started in 1989 as an educational program with the goal of teaching "Conservation through the Arts." Artwork created for the program must be 9x12 inches and in a horizontal format. There can be no writing on the front of the artwork and the artwork should realistically represent a bird species from the list of eligible ducks, geese, and swans. Each state has a contest with four age groups, the Best in Show is sent on to the national competition. Click here for info on how to participate in the Jr. Duck Stamp Program or here to find information specific to your state.
I am so excited to have the opportunity to do the program with my students. My 1-3 students are all finishing their duck drawings and my 4-6 students have the choice or birds or bugs (for Kansas Critters: Bugs.)
Here is my Jr. Duck Stamp Program Motivation Kit List!
- Real duck stamps- My dad saves his old duck stamps for me. I have one that was on his hunting license from a couple years ago and the students were really excited about it.
- Jr. Duck Stamp Poster- If you can get ahold of one!
- Feathers- I recently added some feathers to my bulletin board display, the curled feathers from a mallard's tail. Students very excited, of course.
- Examples- I brought my high school JDS drawings and a duck drawing from a couple months ago. I showed each drawing and talked about the different duck species I drew which got the students excited.
- Reference photos- the guidelines for what reference photos can be used are getting a bit stricter as an attempt to teach students about copyright and plagiarism. About 90% of the photos I put out as reference are photos that I have taken of ducks and geese at zoos, parks, and the wetlands near the school where I student taught. I have a couple of photos from a calendar and pictures of decoys as well. I talked to the students about trying to get the shape and markings accurate but changing the background. I told them as long as the background was an appropriate habitat for the bird, it would work in their drawing. (I think that middle and high school students have to cite their source photos now.)
Freshman Year- Harlequin Ducks
Sophomore Year- Hen Mallard
Junior Year- Canada Geese
Senior Year- Fulvous Whistling Duck