What is this Program About?
       Who can Participate?
       A Quick History
       Where to see the Art
       New and Notable for 2008-09

       Entering the Competition
       Partners in California
       Materials for Teachers































































Art Camp takes flight!
Are you a high school student interested in wildlife art? Then Art Camp is the perfect gift for you! For more information about this wonderful opportunity to work with photography, field sketching, and decoy carving professionals, click here>>.

What is this Program About?
The Junior Duck Stamp is a nationwide program to teach the importance of conserving our wetlands and migratory birds. It pairs science, the arts, and other core subjects to creatively teach greater awareness of our natural resources.

Teachers can choose from a variety of lessons (see below for some great activities) to get across concepts of ecology, conservation, and civic action. At the same time, challenge students with assignments for writing, oral presentations, data collection, graphing, mapping, and much more.

As part of the program, students are invited to participate in an annual art competition. Creating an entry is a valuable experience. It helps students tie together lessons on animal form and function, plant science, observation, wetland habitats, and more. In the visual arts, students practice sketching, drawing, painting, and composition.

The U.S. Department of Interior and the Federal Duck Stamp Office head up this program, and in California it is coordinated by the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.

Who Can Participate?
The art competition is open to students from kindergarten to grade 12. Enter through school (public or private), on your own, or through a youth group such as Scouts, Campfire, or YMCA.

A Quick History
Florida piloted its first local contest in 1989. California got involved as the second state in 1990. The program grew rapidly, and now all states and the District of Columbia participate. For a list of the program coordinators for each state, click here.

In California, the program began with the efforts of a Beverly Hills artist and the staff at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. The state receiving site for entries has since been the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Judging has taken place in various locations, including San Francisco Bay and Sacramento National Wildlife Refuges, Yolo Wildlife Area, and facilities in Chico and Willows.

1992 was the first time a sheet of junior duck stamps was printed, and it included nine state Best of Show winners from 1991 and 1992. After that, a national competition was instituted, with the top winning art printed as a stamp and sold to raise funds for conservation education.

For the past eight years, posters featuring student art have been created to help promote the California program. Click here to see our gallery of posters. In 2001, California also began printing annual calendars that feature student art.

Where to See the Art
Click here to see our Online Gallery of Junior Art. Winning art also travels to locations across the state for festivals and other public events. Contact the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, (530) 934-2801, for dates

New and Notable for 2008-09
*This year the Junior Duck Stamp News will be available online. This newspaper-style publication provides teachers with all the information needed to get started - and more!
Click here for your copy.

*Also available online this year is the required Reference form for students in grade groups III and IV (grades 7-12), on which students list the sources they have used to produce their artwork. Click here.

*Do not forget to have your students include their conservation message. This is another way for them to win! Read the 2008 winning conservation messages here.

*New items will soon be available to help promote the Junior Duck Stamp Program and teach conservation messages.

  • The 2008-09 program poster features several pieces of selected art from the program. This year's poster also offers teachers a new selection of classroom activities.
  • The 2009 program calendar includes more than four dozen winning art entries from the 2008 competition. Mini biographies for a dozen waterfowl species are also provided. Additional art is included as thumbnails. Find information about this art here:
  • The 2008-09 Sacramento River Watershed Program poster also features the Junior Duck Stamp program. A special student supplement, "A Journey through the Sacramento River Watershed" from the Sacramento Bee's Newspapers in Education program is also available, chock full of information, activities, and places to visit along the watershed. For more information about the NIE program click here. For more information about the Sacramento River Watershed Program click here.

To request a copy of any of these items, click here.


FREE K-12 Classroom Presentations were offered to teachers and educators in Sacramneto and Chico counties. For more information about this unique science and art based program as well as scheduling information for next season Click here.


Entering the Competition
All entries for the California art competition are due on March 15 each year. Click here to print the rules and entry form for this free competition. Please keep in mind two key rules. First, the species of waterfowl you draw must be a native North American duck, goose, or swan. For a list of qualifying species, click here. Second, all entries must be drawn horizontally and be 9" high by 12" wide. For some tips on creating your entry, click here.

Soon after the annual entry deadline, the artwork is judged by a panel of experts. The judges change each year, but the panel typically includes a combination of waterfowl biologists, artists, and educators. The art is separated into four grade groups (K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12), and each group is judged independently. Once the first place winners for each group have been selected, they are viewed again to select a single Best of Show for the state. If you are interested in observing the judging, please click here and provide us with your contact information.

When students submit an entry in the California competition, they have the chance to win some great

  • Every entry will receive a Certificate of Participation.
  • 100 California students (25 in each grade group) receive beautiful first, second, third, or honorable mention ribbons (groups are K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12).
  • 12 first place state winners, including the Best of Show, receive engraved plaques and special wildlife gifts such as backpacks or binoculars.
  • 24 second and third place winners will receive special wildlife gifts.
  • Several schools selected at random will receive art supplies.
  • The California Best of Show will go on to compete in a national contest. The first place national winner receives a $5,000 cash award, a free trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, and his/her winning design is used on the Federal Junior Duck Stamp. The second place national winner receives a $3,000 cash award; and the third place national winner receives a $2,000 cash award. National top ten, $500, National Conservation Message first place, $500; second place, $300; third place, $200.
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Partners in California
More than a dozen organizations and agencies have come together to make the 2006-07 California program a success. Sponsors help with the cost of producing and distributing calendars and posters to teachers statewide. Contributions also fund prizes such as binoculars, backpacks, art supplies, and savings bonds for winning students and schools.

Materials for Teachers
The Junior Duck Stamp Program uses the environment as the theme to creatively teach and reinforce core subjects. Are you wondering why environment-based education is valuable? Click here to see what recent studies have shown.

If you are interested in using this program but are unsure about instructing students in sketching and drawing waterfowl, click here to view our Waterfowl ID and Drawing Guide. This resource offers several approaches to drawing, includes step-by-step examples, highlights several duck species, and includes simple tips for bird identification.

Since the program began, several activity resources have been assembled:

  • In 1990, the first curriculum for the Junior Duck Stamp Program was developed. It is a K-12 booklet emphasizing the arts (music, dance, art appreciation, poetry) and is available by clicking here.
  • In 1996, the Federal Duck Stamp Office produced a new activity guide emphasizing the sciences, addressing topics such as field journals, adaptation, endangered species, migration, habitats, and conservation action. Click here to download a copy of this guide.
  • In 2001-02, the California partners began providing activity options on the back of program posters:
  • From the 2002 poster, there is a study of migration flyways, several nesting activities, a fortune cookie project, and a school-ground restoration; obtain these activities by clicking here.
  • From the 2003 poster, students can study nature's colors, sculpt bird feet, create waterfowl bills, examine feathers, create plant art, and become schoolyard naturalists. For these fun activities, Click here.
  • For 2004, the poster theme is wildlife-friendly agriculture. From role-playing as grazing cattle and researching federal conservation programs to creating duck mosaics and painting with soils, students can learn all about this unique method for wildlife conservation. These creative lessons can be printed by clicking here.
  • The 2005 poster includes step by step instructions for creating a Junior Duck Stamp piece. It gives tips on selecting a waterfowl species, conducting research, and how to create an entry. For help creating your Junior Duck Stamp piece Click here.
  • In 2006, the poster introduced copy cat activity pages for teachers. These copy cat pages enable teachers to photo copy the "What are Waterfowl", "Duck Nests", "Take Flight", "Nature Journaling", and "Probability of Pintail" activities for students to use. These exciting lessons can be printed by clicking here. For curriculum standards Click here.
  • The 2007 poster includes copy cat activity pages for second through sixth grade students. Each grade's activity is geared toward specific science curriculum standards. Activity topics include depth perception, wetland soils, wetland functions, bird adaptations, and plant adaptations. Click here for these activity sheets. Click here for curriculum standard correlations.
  • The 2008 poster includes copy cat activity pages for second through sixth grade students. Each grade's activity is geared toward specific state curriculum standard. Activties include color contrasts, geographical features, human interactions with the environment, water cycle, and food webs. Click here for these activity sheets.
There are many more online and printed resources available for those who plan to teach about wildlife, wetlands, agriculture, water, and conservation. For a resource bibliography, click here.

California Waterfowl Association Copyright 2005
4630 Northgate Blvd. Suite 150, Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 648-1406 Fax: (916) 648-1665 Comments? email the webmaster