Duck Stamp judging at Cornerstone
ONE OF THE FINALIST ENTRIES from the 2010 Junior Duck Stamp Contest.
Erik Bergren/Special to the Index-Tribune
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest was conceived in 1934 as a way to protect open space for wildlife while also spreading a message of conservation. It invites artists of all ages from across the country to submit their design of duck to be transformed into a collectable stamp.
For the first time ever, the contest judging will take place in the Bay Area at from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Sonoma's Cornerstone Garden.
The event is brought to Sonoma Valley by Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie of Sonoma Birding, who established the "Christmas Bird Count for Kids" that has collaborating with the Junior Duck Stamp program in other states across the country. The public can join in during the festival of nature that includes live raptors, Puddles the Blue Goose, displays of Duck Stamp winners from 2010 and 2011, an optics demonstration, decoy carvers, burrowing owl and beaver booths, pollinator pals and more. The judging event theme is "Connecting Kids with Nature" and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The contest was launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who required hunters to purchase the stamps via an act of Congress as a way to raise funs to protect hunting grounds while also informing the public about conservation. An efficient conservation effort, 98 cents out of every dollar generated by the Duck Stamps goes towards protecting territory for waterfowl. The 2010 and 2011 winning stamp collectors can be purchased at most Post Offices in July.
At least four Sonoma classrooms from Prestwood Elementary School, plus the students of Crescent Montessori are hoping to win the state and national contests that have attracted entries from more than 25,000 kids. Each of the 50 states "Best of Show" will be sent to Washington, D.C., where on April 15, a national winner is selected by a panel of judges.
Five years ago, students in Susan Foshay's Prestwood classroom choose to participate and it has become a popular annual event at the school. "It allows all students to artistically express the beauty, diversity and interdependence of wildlife. Before drawing or painting a duck, students research their species. It is very cool when a student takes ownership and is introduced to citizen science through art," said Foshay.
The event Saturday takes place at Cornerstone Gardens, 23570 Arnold Drive. For more details, phone 939-8007, or visit sonomabirding.com.