Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was the sight for the judging of the 2014 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest. The judging took place on Tuesday, March 25 at the Visitor Center. This year’s “Best of Show” again goes to Timothy Schreiber of Lincoln, Alabama. Tim’s entry of a Mallard drake was chosen out of 453 entries from throughout the state. He was also the 2013 Best of Show winner. All of the three first place winners in each age category will be invited to an awards banquet at the headquarters of the Alabama Wildlife Federation in Prattville, Alabama, to receive a luncheon, recognition, plaque, and $50 worth of art supplies.
Judges for this year’s contest were Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Melinda Dunn, Alabama Wildlife Federation Board Member Nathan McCollum, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association Vice President Susan Estes, Alabama Department of Conservation Wildlife Biologist Jud Easterwood, and Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Manager Dwight Cooley.
The Junior Duck Stamp competition begins each spring when students submit their artwork to state or territory contests. At the state level, students are judged in four groups according to grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Three first, three second, and three third place entries, along with 16 honorable mentions, are selected for each group. Contest judges select a “Best of Show” from the twelve first place winners. Each state or territory “Best of Show” is then submitted to the Federal Duck Stamp Office and entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest.
The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year. The stamp is sold by the U.S. Postal Service and Amplex Corporation consignees for $5 per stamp. The Junior Duck Stamp cannot be used for postage; proceeds from its sale support conservation education and provide awards and scholarships for participating students, teachers, and schools.
Wheeler NWR provides 35,000 acres of wetland, fields, and forest habitat for migrating, nesting, and wintering birds. Year-round nature related activities are offered for visitors. For more information call the Visitor Center at 350-6639 or visit the Wheeler NWR website at www.fws.gov/wheeler and the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association website at www.friendsofwheelerrefuge.org.