Wildlife artists, get your pencils, brushes ready
Many art instructors and their students look forward to the yearly announcement about the upcoming waterfowl contest.
The 2008 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp art contest, sponsored by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, is open to Alabama artists only.
The winning art piece will be used as the design for the 2009-10 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp. The stamp is a must-buy article for those hunting migratory waterfowl legally in Alabama. Even a lot of non-hunters purchase the stamps annually as a collector's piece.
"We encourage all Alabama artists to participate in this unique contest," Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division director Corky Pugh said. "Art teachers are also encouraged to make this a special project for their art students who can learn about wildlife and art simultaneously."
Now is the time to start working on the special projects. Entries will be accepted from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, 2008.
Entries cannot exceed 9 by 12 inches (15 by 18 inches matted). Only original horizontal artworks depicting a species of North American migratory duck or goose will be eligible. The Canvasback (2006-07), Blue-winged Teal (2007-08) and Hooded Merganser (2008-09) portrayed in the winning artwork of the three previous years' contest are not eligible as subjects for the 2009-10 stamp.
As mentioned in a release from the state, judging criteria will emphasize uncluttered design suitable for printing as a stamp, anatomical accuracy of the illustrated species and artistic rendering.
It should be noted that close attention must be given to tone and detail since those aspects are prerequisites for printing artwork as a stamp. Wing and feather construction must be particularly well defined to be considered.
Entrants may submit a painting or drawing. Past contest entries have included works in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, all of which are eligible.
For contest information and entry forms, contact David Hayden of the Alabama wildlife and fisheries division at (334) 242-3469 or visit
Federal duck stamps
As most waterfowl hunters in Alabama already know, a federal duck stamp is required to hunt legally in most circumstances.
Many hunters have asked me about where the money goes from the sale of duck stamps.
According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Web site, since 1934, the sales of federal duck stamps have generated more than $670 million, which has been used to help purchase or lease more than 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat in our nation.
Waterfowl are not the only wildlife to benefit from the sale of federal duck stamps. Numerous other bird, mammal, fish, reptile and amphibian species that rely on wetland habitats have prospered. Also, an estimated one-third of the nation's endangered and threatened species find food or shelter in refuges established using federal duck stamp funds.
People, too, have benefited from the federal duck stamp program. Hunters have places to enjoy their hunting heritage and other outdoor enthusiasts have places to hike, watch birds and visit. Moreover, the protected wetlands help purify water supplies, store flood water, reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, and provide spawning areas for fish important to sport and commercial fishermen.
In general, outdoor enthusiasts — even those who do not hunt waterfowl — likely have enjoyed an outdoor experience because of money that was raised from the sale of duck stamps.
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