Hailing from Eufala, Ala., LeRoy's acrylic painting featuring a pair of black-bellied whistling ducks will be made into the 2020-2021 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp," slated to go on sale in late-June 2020. The Duck Stamp, which sells for $25, raises some $40 million in sales each year, which goes to support critical conservation to protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System. In the 85 years since its establishment, sales of the Duck Stamp have raised more that $1 billion for the conservation of over 6 million acres of wildlife habitat, further contributing to increased opportunities for hunting and recreation on public land.
Waterfowl hunters aged 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Federal Duck Stamp. Many non-hunters, including birdwatchers, conservationists, stamp collectors and others also purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation. Additionally, a current Federal Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
This year's runner up was Cory McLaughlin of Wells, Texas, who submitted a similarly-themed work in oil of a black-bellied whistling-duck pair. Frank Mittelstadt of Beaver Dam, Wis., meanwhile, took third with a bufflehead pair in acrylic. To check out all 190 entries in this year's competition, including the 13 finalists, please visit the contest's flickr page.
"These artists are extremely talented, and the quality of the art is matched by the incredible conservation work funded by Duck Stamp sales," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. USFWS Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson echoed his praise for the program and the conservation efforts it allows, remarking, "I’m proud to be part of an event with the rich tradition of the Duck Stamp Contest. The first one took place in 1949, and 70 years later, the contest—and the wetland conservation work it supports—is going stronger than ever.”
To purchase a Federal Duck Stamp online, click here. For more information on the Duck Stamp Contest itself, check out their page; and to learn more about the great work of the USFWS, visit their website at fws.gov.