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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2007

IDNR encourages students to participate in 2007 Junior Duck Stamp contest
Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program celebrates 15 years of conservation through the arts

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Students in grades kindergarten through 12 can learn about waterfowl, wetlands and conservation, and put their art skills to use while participating in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program (JDS).  The goal of the Junior Duck Stamp Program is to teach environmental science through the arts.  Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today encouraged Illinois students to participate in the 2007 program, currently in its 15th year.

“The Junior Duck Stamp is a unique program that combines science education and the arts to provide youth with a greater understanding of the importance of conservation,” stated Dir. Flood.  “It has been my pleasure to act as a judge in the contest.  The quality of the students’ artwork is phenomenal and I can assure you that participants take this contest very seriously.”

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is sponsored in Illinois by the IDNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The program has continually increased in popularity since its inception in 1989 and moreover since the implementation of a national art contest and stamp in 1993.  The program was first recognized by Congress in 1994 when the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program Act was enacted.  In 2000, Congress reauthorized the program and expanded it from 17 states to include student participants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

Preparation for the JDS contest and involvement in the program requires students to think about principles of anatomy and environmental science.  It also provides an opportunity for students to learn science and express their knowledge of the beauty, diversity and interdependence of wildlife artistically.

At the state-level contest, students are judged in four groups: Group I - grades K-3, Group II - grades 4-6, Group III - grades 7-9, and Group IV - grades 10-12.  Three first, second and third place entries are selected for each group.  A “Best of Show” is awarded by the judges from the 12 first-place winners.  Each state or territory’s “Best of Show” is submitted to the national Duck Stamp Office and entered into the national JDS Contest.

The first place design from the national contest is used to create a Junior Duck Stamp for the following year.  Junior Duck Stamps are sold by the U.S. Postal Service for $5 per stamp.  Proceeds from the sale of the stamps support conservation education and provide awards and scholarships for the students, teachers and schools that participate in the program.

This year’s contest marks the 15th anniversary of the JDS. Illinois has participated in the program since its inception, with an estimated 10,000 students participating.  Two Illinois state “Best of Show” winners have also been the national winners.

The 2007 Illinois application deadline is March 15. Judging will occur on March 30. Complete contest regulations may be downloaded at http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/junior/Request%20for%20Poster.htm or may be ordered through the IDNR online order form at http://www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/education/CLASSRM/edmats02.htm.  For more information, contact the IDNR Division of Education at dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov or
217-524-4126.



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