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2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp winner announced at ‘Ding’

May 4, 2016
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A 16-year-old young woman from Fremont, Calif., was announced as the winner of the 2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp competition at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on April 22.

Stacy Shen, 16, won first place for her colored pencil entry of a pair of snow geese; the second place winner is Sarah Clayton, 18, of Sidney, Ohio, with her rendition of a pair of ring-necked ducks and the third place winner is Chase Mascaro, 16, of Slidell, La, who did a rendition of a pair of hooded mergansers.

"They look like they are happy with what they are. There is a royal look to them," head judge Joe Hautman said of the first place winner's art.

Article Photos

Judge Joe Hautman announced the first place winner of the 2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp competition, Stacy Shen, 16, of Fremont, Calif, for her colored pencil entry of a pair of snow geese.


In addition, the 2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Message contest winner was Cassidy Fulton, 18, of Valley City, N.D., for "Our Environment, Our Responsibility, Our Future."

Before the judging began around 10 a.m., J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik shared information regarding the celebration of the 100th anniversary of protecting migratory birds.

"Some of the earlier refuges were established to protect some of the last remaining birds," he said. "In 1916 it became a real international focus when the United States entered into a treaty with Canada and Great Britain to protect the birds and outlaw the market of their feathers and skins, and protect their nesting grounds, particularly in Canada and their winter grounds here in the United States."

The treaty soon expanded to include Mexico, Japan and the Soviet Union because migratory birds fly from Canada to Mexico and South America, but some migrate to Asia to Japan and Russia.

"It's a landmark treaty that for the first time made the protection of our migratory birds an international importance," Tritaik said.

After touching on the 100th celebration, he shared insight on how the Federal Junior Duck Stamp competition started in Sanibel in 1989. He said it was really the vision of The Sanibel School.

"The principal at the time, Barbara Ward, and the art teacher, Jaye Boswell, and the manager here at the time, Lou Hine,s and his staff and a couple of volunteers were very instrumental in getting the Junior Duck Stamp started," Tritaik said.

Boswell was honored during the presentation with a framed canvas of a wood duck the youngsters from Cypress Lake Middle School and Patriot Elementary School were going to paint later that day.

"It would be fair to say that we wouldn't have the Junior Duck Stamp contest if it wasn't for Jaye. Thank you very much for your vision, your dedication," Tritaik said.

Boswell said the Junior Duck Stamp had a very humble beginning when she taught art at The Sanibel School for 22 years. She shared a story she wrote when preparing for a trip to California to talk to the Duck Stamp coordinators from every single state.

"The enthusiasm of the children, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the teachers all contributed to the birth of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp," Boswell said.

She said the second year of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp a few more schools joined The Sanibel School in designing a duck stamp.

"Over 30,000 students from almost every state participated in designing a Federal Junior Duck Stamp," Boswell said over time.

The Florida Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator Becky Larkins was also honored during the opening presentation. Tritaik said last year, Larkins had the most entries of any state in the country with more than 3,000.

Larkins was also presented with a framed canvas of a wood duck.

Once the presentation concluded, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland took over as the emcee for the event, sharing constant information with the middle and elementary school-aged children, as well as the public that attended.

"This is an exciting day. I don't know if you all realize the history that is going to be made in this room, which is so exciting," she said. "This is the 24th annual Junior Duck Stamp. It is great that the Duck Stamp has come home to us and you all are here to witness it. This year there are over 27,000 entries, 27,297 total from all states and U.S. Territories. We got them from Puerto Rico down in the Virgin Islands, so we have people painting ducks from all over. It's spreading fast."

Westland provided background information on how the Federal Duck Stamp began in 1934 by "Ding" Darling. She said he is the reason why they are able to buy wildlife refuges because hunters buy Duck Stamps, which helps fund purchases of land in national wildlife refuges.

The artists competing in the Federal Duck Stamp have five species of a duck, swan, or goose to choose from and the artists participating in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp have more than 30 species to choose from.

The judges selected for the National Junior Duck Stamp contest were local artist Nancy Tome; Alliance for the Arts Exhibitions Coordinator Krista Johnson; Sanibel resident and world renowned woodcarver Jim Sprankle; George Jensen, the owner and founder of Amplex Corporation, who helps the refuge distribute the junior and federal Duck Stamp, and current Federal Duck Stamp winner Joe Hautman.

"This is a very prestigious and important job you all have to select this amazing stamp. It will become this next Junior Duck Stamp," Westland said to the judges.

Hautman, who is a five time Federal Duck Stamp winner, automatically became the head judge of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest because he is the current Federal Duck Stamp winner.

Poker chips and numbers are used by the judges during the various rounds to choose the winner of the Junior Duck Stamp contest. The judges examined 52 pieces of artwork, which were the best of shows from the United States and U.S. Territories. The Best of Shows were sent to the headquarters office, which then became apart of the national judging that took place at "Ding" Friday, April 22.

The artwork was placed on tables within the Refuge Visitor & Education Center at "Ding," leaving the name and state of the artist a mystery for the judges. The judges were given a reducing lens, which takes the 9x12 piece of artwork and shrinks it, so the judges can see what it would look like as a stamp.

In round one, each judge was given five chips. Once a chip was placed on a painting, a judge could not duplicate the vote, leaving 25 paintings advancing to the second round.

In round two, the judges were given two chips to vote on 10 paintings, again without duplicating a vote, advancing to the third round. The third round reduced the number to the top five paintings, due to the judges only having one chip to place on the artwork.

During the final round, the judges were given three numbers - a three, four and five - that they used to vote on their favorite top three pieces of artwork. The stamp that received the highest overall vote won the competition.

To view all of the state Best of Show entries, visit

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.



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