Annual Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Artistic Competition Begins
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is once again inviting artists to enter their waterfowl artwork in Connecticut’s annual Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp Art Contest. DEEP continues to encourage local artists to submit entries that contain Connecticut specific imagery. The winning entry in this contest will be featured on the 2020 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.
This will be the final year for the current format of the artistic competition. Starting in 2021, the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp will feature the winning artwork from the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Competition. This change is being made so that future stamps will feature artwork from Connecticut artists, while at the same time conservation awareness will be encouraged in young people through the Junior Duck Stamp Program. Every student, from kindergarten through high school, who participates in the Junior Duck Stamp Competition is provided with a limited curriculum on wetland conservation, waterfowl, and nature in general. The program encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles, and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others. As the use of technology has increased, a general connection with nature and the outdoors has decreased. It is anticipated that in some small part, this program can help connect young people with the natural world. More information on the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Program can be found at www.ct.gov/deep/CTDuckStamp.
“The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program is a great example of how conservation works – concerned citizens paying into a program that was formed to protect and enhance vital habitat. Being more than just a ‘Duck’ Stamp, the conservation work it funds provides habitat for a multitude of wildlife species, including herons, egrets, fish, and amphibians,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen.
“By state law, funds generated from the sale of Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamps can only be used for the development, management, preservation, conservation, acquisition, purchase, and maintenance of waterfowl habitat and wetlands, as well as the purchase and acquisition of recreational rights or interests relating to migratory birds,” added Whalen.
- The contest is open to all artists (including Junior Duck Stamp artists), regardless of residence, age, or experience. Artwork may be in any full-color medium, including acrylic, oil, colored pencil, and watercolor. Images that include a Connecticut scene or landmark are highly preferred. Entries will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, general rendering, and suitability for reproduction.
- Entries must be received in person or postmarked on or before April 15, 2019, to be eligible. Entries should be sent to: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Attn: Migratory Game Bird Program, 391 Route 32, North Franklin, CT 06254.
Full contest rules, judging criteria, and an official entry certificate are available on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/ctduckstamp or by calling the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Franklin office at 860-418-5952.
History of CT’s Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp Program
The Duck Stamp Program was initiated in the early 1990s when concerned sportsmen worked with DEEP to develop legislation that would generate revenue for wetland conservation. Modeled after the federal Duck Stamp Program, the Connecticut program requires the purchase of a state Duck Stamp, along with a hunting license, to legally hunt waterfowl and other migratory birds in the state.
The first Connecticut Duck Stamp debuted in 1993 with a fee of $5.00. From 1993-2002, the sale of Duck Stamps and prints generated over $1.2 million in revenue. Print sales gradually declined over time and the print program was discontinued with the 2002 Duck Stamp. Hunters and conservationists have consistently expressed strong support for the Duck Stamp Program and associated conservation projects. The sale of stamps alone currently generates approximately $50,000 per year. With the return of full-color artistic Duck Stamps in 2013, art enthusiasts, stamp collectors, and conservationists are encouraged to purchase as many stamps as they wish to provide funds for wetland conservation projects. Full-color prints may also be available at the discretion of the winning artist.
- The inaugural art contest in 2012 was won by wildlife artist Richard Clifton, whose depiction of three wood ducks appeared on the 2013 Connecticut Duck Stamp.
- The 2013 contest was won by John Brennan, whose painting of hooded mergansers graced the 2014 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.
- Guy Crittenden won the contest in 2014 with his depiction of northern shovelers, which was featured on the 2015 stamp.
- The 2015 winning artwork of three Atlantic brant was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter, and featured on the 2016 Connecticut Duck Stamp.
- The 2017 stamp is of a pair of canvasbacks at the mouth of the Thames River with the historic New London lighthouse in the background, which was painted by Mark Thone.
- The 2018 stamp, which was painted by Connecticut artist Chet Reneson, highlights a pair of surf scoters flying at the mouth of the Connecticut River with the Saybrook Jetty and Lighthouse in the background.
- The 2019 stamp was painted by a repeat winner, Jeffrey Klinefelter, whose depiction of buffleheads at Barn Island was a clear winner.
Benefits of the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program
- Funds generated through the Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program have been responsible for restoring and enhancing over 3,545 acres of critical wetlands. Projects have encompassed nearly 50 sites, mostly on state-owned wildlife management areas. This has benefitted many of the approximately 274 species of birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles of the state that rely upon clean, healthy wetlands. In many instances, Duck Stamp funds were the only source of money for these projects.
- Specialized large equipment was purchased to conduct extensive marsh restoration work, particularly along the coast.
- Connecticut was the first state in the nation to establish a unit dedicated to wetland restoration. The DEEP’s Wetlands Restoration Unit receives no state funds and operates solely off of outside monies and Connecticut Duck Stamp funds.
- A 75-acre addition to the Wangunk Meadows Wildlife Management Area in Portland was purchased.
- Duck Stamp funds have generated additional monies for Connecticut through matching grants from federal conservation initiatives. By combining Duck Stamp funds with these additional monies, over $4 million have been available to complete wildlife conservation projects. Thus, Connecticut has received a 4:1 return on Duck Stamp monies.
- The Duck Stamp Program is a prime example of a user fee program that has greatly benefitted not only wildlife, but also the people of Connecticut by improving the health of our local environments.
Do your part for conservation in Connecticut. Buy a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp and contribute to habitat protection and restoration.
Image of the 2019 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, painted by Jeffrey Klinefelter.