Jr. duck stamp art on exhibit at Gardens

Contributed report

PINE MOUNTAIN — Callaway Gardens hosts the 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Exhibit.

This year is the 23rd anniversary of the Junior Duck Stamp program, which is made available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promote conservation through the arts.

Each year Georgia youth participate in the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Contest. Students in kindergarten through 12th grades select a North American duck, goose or swan; research the species and its habitat; then depict the bird in an artistic medium.

Following the competition, the winning artwork goes on an exhibition tour around Georgia. The exhibit will be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Daisy Classroom of Callaway Gardens’ Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center through Oct. 31.

Winners on the state level receive prizes and certificates. Amber Dong, 13, of Johns Creek, won the annual 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition on April 7 at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette. Five judges unanimously selected her acrylic rendition of a wood duck out of 532 total entries as the Georgia Best of Show.

Twenty-five winners in each of four different age groups were selected by the judges. All 100 of the winners are included in the exhibit.

Prizes and ribbons also were given for the best student conservation message that expresses the spirit of what they learned while researching and planning for their Duck Stamp Contest artwork entry. This year’s winning conservation message was submitted by 14-year-old Walter Ellard of Roswell: “When you go somewhere in the woods without phone signal, I promise you will get a better connection.”

To support conservation programs, Junior Duck Stamps may be purchased for $5, plus shipping and handling by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724). For program information, visit http://duckstamps.fws.gov.

The USFWS sponsors this program annually to encourage students to explore their natural world, to investigate biology and wildlife management principles and to express and share what they have learned with others.

According to the USFWS, for every dollar spent on federal duck stamps, 98 cents goes directly to purchase vital habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, sales of Federal Duck Stamps to hunters, stamp collectors and other conservationists have raised millions of dollars which has been used to acquire more than 5.3 million acres of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Admission to Callaway Gardens is $20 per adult; $10 per child ages 6 to 12; children ages 5 and under are admitted for free. Special event rates may apply. Tax is included.

From a press release submitted by Callaway Gardens.