OGDEN, Utah – The 2012 Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition will be held Sept. 28 and 29 in Weber State University’s Shepherd Union Ballrooms. This is first time the event has been held in Utah and judges will select the nation's 80th Duck Stamp.
"The contest allows us to bring the message of wetland conservation to a wider audience," said John Cavitt, zoology professor. "It allows us to highlight the fact that the wetlands in the U.S. are among the most endangered habitats in the world, and they are disappearing at alarming rates." Artists submitted 192 entries to the contest, and the works will be on display for the public to view in the Shepherd Union. A panel of five judges scrutinizes the art and determines the winner. The winner will be made into the 2013-2014 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. It’s not a postage stamp; rather, the duck stamp is a required purchase for hunters and a simple way for someone to invest in conservation. The proceeds are used for wildlife habitats across the nation.
Since its inception in 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp has raised more than $850 million for approximately 6.5 million acres of habitat conservation. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City; Ouray National Wildlife Refuge near Vernal; and the Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge in Dugway are among the Utah sites that have greatly benefited from the funding. "Weber State faculty and researchers use many of the areas the duck stamp has funded for conservation as our field sites, so students here are really tied to these areas," Cavitt explained.
One of Cavitt's former students will be a featured presenter at the Duck Stamp Competition.As an undergraduate from Kansas in 2004, Judd Patterson received National Science Foundation funding to research Snowy Plovers one summer at the wildlife refuges in Northern Utah. In addition to conducting research, Patterson honed his passion for nature photography.
"No matter where you are in the United States, there is likely a wildlife refuge within driving distance," Patterson said. "That refuge has been preserved through the efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Duck Stamp Competition, which returns 98 percent of the proceeds to land conservation. The result is an amazing network of habitats across the U.S., which everyone can visit and enjoy." Patterson’s presentation is one of several events and exhibits available during the competition. The public is invited to attend for free. For a complete schedule and to learn about the Duck Stamp visit http://fws.gov/duckstamps.