Mixing Conservation with Art Releases Creativity

Junior Duck Program Motivates Kids to Study Nature with an Artistic Eye

Combining artistic expression and conservation, the annual Junior Duck Stamp Program gives children the opportunity to study local waterfowl and practice using their artistic skills to portray them in their native habitat. The competition even provides curriculum materials to support families and educators in expanding children’s learning as they participate!

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a leader in the study of waterfowl species and their habitat. In keeping with this scientific tradition and commitment, children of almost any age are invited to participate in this year’s Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program! An annual art contest that pairs the study of waterfowl with artistic expression, the Junior Duck Stamp Program provides a platform for learning about conservation, the environment, species identification, and artistic expression!

Open to children in grades K-12 (or of the age equivalent to grades K-12), participation in the Junior Duck Stamp Program requires young scientists and artists to create original pieces of artwork that showcase a species of waterfowl native to Massachusetts. Children may use visual aids in order to create their pieces, so as to ensure that the shape, size, coloration, and surroundings that they create are accurate, but all works of art should be entirely original, rather than drawn or painted as a copy of a photograph, drawing, or other representation of a bird.

While creating a truly original and accurate piece presents a significant challenge for young children, it also presents a valuable opportunity to learn about the specific habitat of certain birds and the ways in which their bodies change (or migrate) along with the seasons. In order to support parents and educators of all kinds in teaching children about local species of waterfowl, the Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program offers a free educational curriculum that can be used in many educational contexts and with students of many ages.

Entries for this year’s competition must be submitted by March 15th. All entries must 9×12 inches, and must have a horizontal alignment. Once entries have been received, winners will be chosen in four different age groups on the state level, and winning pieces will advance to the national competition. National winners will receive scholarships, and state winners’ work will be displayed at waterfowl festivals across the country! Additionally, the winner piece of art will be made into a stamp, available statewide for $5 – the proceeds from which help to support future conservation efforts. More specific entry information is available from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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