The 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp went on sale today across the United States, giving hunters, stamp collectors and anyone who cares about migratory birds and other wildlife an easy way to help conserve their habitat. Ninety-eight percent of proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to acquire and protect vital wetlands supports hundreds of species of migratory birds, wildlife and plants.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe joined representatives of the U.S. Postal Service, Bass Pro Shops and other conservation partners at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World retail store in Hampton, Va, today to celebrate the first day of sale of both the $15 Federal Duck Stamp and $5 Junior Duck Stamp. The new stamps are now available at thousands of post offices, Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods stores and retail locations across the country, and can also be purchased online.
“For nearly 80 years, the Federal Duck Stamp has provided crucial funding for wetland habitat conservation efforts in every state,” said Ashe. “Buying a Duck Stamp offers hunters, conservationists, and collectors the opportunity to own a beautiful piece of wildlife art that helps sustain North America’s wildlife heritage. I can’t think of a better or easier way for everyone to make a difference for wildlife conservation.”
Since the program’s inception in 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $750 million to acquire and protect more than 5.3 million acres of habitat for hundreds of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System in all 50 states and U.S. territories. These refuges benefit the public by providing access to outdoor recreational activities including hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.
All migratory bird hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a valid Federal Duck Stamp while hunting, but conservationists, birders, and others also buy the stamp to support habitat conservation. Anyone who holds a current Federal Duck Stamp may also obtain free admission to any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that charges admission fees.
Stamp collectors, in particular, prize Federal Duck Stamps as miniature works of art. This year’s Federal Duck Stamp features a single wood duck painted by Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn. The Junior Duck Stamp features a northern pintail painted by Christine Clayton, a 17 year old from Sidney, Ohio.
With four Federal Duck Stamps to his credit, Hautman is one of the most successful Duck Stamp artists in history, and has leveraged the international recognition earned by winning the contest multiple times to build his career as a wildlife artist. Clayton’s art was chosen from among 53 Best-of-Show winners from every state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2012 National Junior Duck Stamp Contest. Clayton entered her first Junior Duck Stamp competition in 2003 and has consistently placed well among her peers over the past 11 years.
Junior Duck Stamp competitors take part in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program, which teaches wetlands and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The program integrates scientific and wildlife management principles into a nationally recognized visual arts curriculum, with participants completing a Junior Duck Stamp design as their visual “term papers." Revenue from the sales of the Junior Duck Stamp goes to support awards and environmental education for students who participate in the program.
Federal and Junior Duck Stamps can be purchased at U.S. Postal Service locations nationwide, as well as through the Postal Service’s online catalogue. Stamps may also be purchased at Bass Pro Shops locations and hundreds of other sporting goods stores and retailers. Electronic Duck Stamps may be purchased online at www.duckstamp.com. The electronic validation may be used to hunt or obtain free admission to a refuge immediately, while a physical stamp is mailed to each customer.
Learn more about the Federal Duck Stamp Program online at www.fws.gov/duckstamps, or on Facebook at USFWS_Federal Duck Stamp.