The Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Program began in 1989 as a way to raise funds in order to protect vulnerable species of waterfowl for hunters and bird watchers alike, all while inspiring children across the nation to dive into the arts. Since then, every state submits their best painting, drawing or sketch of a migratory species of waterfowl found within the United States.
In New Jersey, the Junior Duck Stamp entries come from all across the state and this year the Tuckerton Seaport, home for the New Jersey Junior Duck Stamp, received over 50 pieces of art done by art students in grades K through 12. This year the judging of the event had to move to a different format due to the COVID-19 pandemic raging through the state and the physical closure of the Tuckerton Seaport. Every entry had a photo taken of the work and was categorized into four age groups separated by school grade: Group 1 (K-3), Group 2 (4-6), Group 3 (7-9), and Group 4 (10-12).
Five judges with backgrounds as naturalists, hunters and art enthusiasts were emailed each group of entries to be judged within their group by choosing a first, second and third place while also choosing several honorable mentions per group. The first-place victor of each group was then resent to our judges in order to choose the Best in Show entry that will move on to the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest which will be decided in June 2020 for the 2020/2021 Junior Duck Stamp. Despite the current coronavirus, the Seaport was able to snap into action and made sure to keep its yearly commitment to moving on a young artists work to be viewed at the national level.
Below are the first-place winners of each student group and the Best in Show selection for New Jersey that moved on to the national contest. If you are interested in the duck stamp program or would like to purchase a duck stamp in order to support waterfowl conservation, click here to visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website.
Group 1 (Grades K to 3):
Group 2 (Grades 4 to 6)
Group 3 (Grades 7 to 9) – BEST IN SHOW
Group 4 (Grades 10 to 12)
Here are the second and third place winners from each group: