The Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel is accepting entries for Maryland’s annual Junior Duck Stamp Contest until Saturday and will hold a public contest judging on March 29.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is a national curriculum designed to teach K-12 students about waterfowl, wetland ecology and wildlife conservation. Participants from public, private and home schools research waterfowl and submit artistic representations to the contest. Last year, more than 700 students from Washington, D.C., and Maryland submitted artwork, said Laurel Harrison, one of the refuge coordinators for the competition.
Each year, the Patuxent Research Refuge supplies judges to choose one Maryland artist and one District artist to advance to the national level of the Junior Duck Stamp competition, Harrison said. The Junior Duck Stamp selected from the national competition will be printed and cost $5, she said.
“The stamp that is issued each year is a collector’s item and the money for those stamps go right back into the schools [involved with the program],” Harrison said.
This is the first year the refuge will host a public judging of the contest and visitors will be able to view the artwork on a projected screen and watch judges examine the submissions, Harrison said.
“We have a panel of five judges and we try to have judges with different backgrounds, so they’re looking for different things,” she said. “We want it to be an open process so people can see what we’re doing.”
The public judging will take place at 2 p.m. at the National Wildlife Visitors’ Center auditorium, located at 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop in Laurel.