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Since 1938, the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp or "Duck Stamp" has been required of anyone hunting ducks or geese, although anyone can purchase a duck stamp. The funds generated from these stamps have helped restore and improve important wetlands and the stamps have become collectors' items. Duck stamps are one of the most successful wildlife restoration programs in the history of this nation!
The Junior Duck Stamp Program (JDS), modeled after the Federal Duck Stamp, was launched in 1991 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service with the aim of increasing young people's awareness of the importance of preserving wetland habitats and the delights of wildlife. In 1992, the US Fish and Wildlife Service printed the first ever Junior Duck Stamp with the funds used to provide awards, incentives, and scholarships to participating students, teachers, and schools.
This dynamic conservation and design program is designed to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. Using scientific and wildlife observation principles, the program helps students communicate visually what they have learned by creating an entry for the Junior Duck Stamp Program art contest. The non-traditional pairing of subjects brings new interest to both science and the arts and teaches greater awareness of our natural resources. The art is judged in four age group categories in a statewide competition, and the entry judged Best of Show moves on to represent Massachusetts in the national JDS competition. Artwork submissions must be postmarked by February 15 of each year.
In Massachusetts the Junior Duck Stamp Program is sponsored by MassWildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Created over two decades ago as an innovative way to teach youth about wetlands and waterfowl, nationally, the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program reaches more than 27,000 students each year, giving them the opportunity to learn scientific principles, connect with their natural world, and artistically express their knowledge of the beauty, diversity and interdependence of wildlife.
A redesigned educational curriculum has been developed that will spark students' interest in habitat conservation and careers in natural resources through science, art, math, and technology. The curriculum guides meet a number of national education standards, including the National Science Education Standards, North American Association for Environmental Education Standards and National Visual Arts Education Standards. Go to www.fws.gov/juniorduck for more information.
The overall national winner of the art contest graces that year's JDS and is sold by the U.S. Postal Service (www.usps.com or 1-800-782-6724) and Amplex Corporation (www.duckstamp.com or 1-800-852-4897) for $5. All proceeds of the stamp are invested in the program to fund environmental education programs; award the students, teachers and schools that participate in the program; and to market the JDS program.
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