|4th grade Honorable Mention Jr. Duck Stamp entry. I love her feathers!|
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum
I think the quote above sums up why the Junior Duck Stamp program is so important to me! Well, that, and I love waterfowl. A lot of kids today are not really in touch with nature and might not have ever thought about conservation. The goal of the JDS program is to teach conservation through the artmaking. The students hopefully learn something about their chosen waterfowl and habitat. This is a great way to connect science and art. If you are unfamiliar with the program, check out the official Jr. Duck Stamp website or read any of my previous posts about Jr. Duck Stamps. I'd also be willing to help by answering any questions I can if you comment.
Another bonus to this program is that there is a contest in each state- a lot of students get excited about that! This year I had a 4th grader earn an Honorable Mention in her age group and two 3rd graders received Honorable Mentions in their age group. I decided I better split up my age groups because there are so many pictures I want to show! I realized after looking back at past student work and my JDS Ambassador trip to Utah last September that I could do a better job stressing the importance of the habitat and composition in addition to the anatomy of the waterfowl. I think that we did a much better job on our backgrounds this year. I saw a lot more students using reference photos of wetlands and wetland plants instead of just going to made up grass or "corn dog" cattails. Some students also seem to be getting over their fear or reflections in the water and looking more closely at their birds.
If you are wondering why there are so many Canada Geese, it's because they are the bird I have the easiest time photographing! They are really common and easy to spot.
Since the topic of the students' work is decided, I try to give them as many choices as I can within that. I was glad that I was able to photograph more species of waterfowl over the summer and in Utah to provide choices of which bird to work from. I also give the older students a lot of choices with media. My intermediate students can use graphite, colored pencil/color sticks, watercolor, watercolor pencils, tempera, and any mixture off the list. Most, however, stick with colored pencil or watercolor pencil. Last year was also the first year I added the choice of the State Fish Art Contest. The rules are very similar to the JDS program and both focus on conservation and observational drawing.
|I wish this had been pushed just a little further! I'm glad that he got some contrast.|
|This student did a really nice job with his background.|
|This student struggled a bit with pressure when painting but he put a lot of extra time into this tempera paint Mallard.|
|The background has a funny horizon line but I still really like the duck. This was actually my pick for the Kansas YAM show.|
I'll be posting my primary ducks in the next couple of days. I'm going to wait to post my students' State Fish artwork until after the judging.