Congratulations to all the participants and the winners in this year’s Maine Junior Duck Stamp challenge! The young artists impressed the judges, who met on March 26 to review the art submitted by more than 400 Maine students in grades K through 12 taking part in this federal program.
The Junior Duck Stamp program, coordinated in Maine by Maine Audubon and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles, and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others through an art contest. This “conservation through the arts” program uses the winning artwork as the basis for the $5 Junior Duck Stamp. Revenue supports environmental education activities for participants.
The panel of judges included Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox, artists Michael Boardman and Sherrie York, Peggy Page, and USFWS biologist Kirstin Underwood. For each of the four age group categories, they chose three First Place winners, three Second Place winners, three Third Place winners, and Honorable Mentions. They also chose one overall Best in Show as well as a Best in Show Conservation Message.
“It’s always a pleasure to see the knowledge that students have gained in waterfowl biology and conservation depicted in their artwork,” said Underwood. “Every year I continue to be impressed by the quality of the artwork and the heart that all of the students put into their work.”
Artist Sherrie York echoed that sentiment. “As I looked through the work submitted to the Junior Duck Stamp competition,” she said, “I was struck by the variety of details that attract artists of all ages. Some of the young artists chose to emphasize color or pattern, others focused on the shape of individual feathers, and still others were captivated by the personality expressed in a bird’s beak and head shape. There are so many aspects of birds for artists to explore, and it was lovely to see them closely observed and celebrated by these young artists.”
And the winners are …
Grades K-3 (click to see gallery):
- 1st place: Karli Maling, Seth McGuinness, Theodore Lynch
- 2nd place: Amelia Castonguay, Evan Lynch, Oliver Lilly
- 3rd place: Josie Cribbey, Rose Cluchey, Zella Morgan
Grades 4-6 (click to see gallery):
- 1st place: Ariah Lowell, Jessica Loiselle, Zuriel Smith
- 2nd place: Lea Costa Bichler, Madalyn Zdunczyk, Michael Lynch
- 3rd place: Kathleen Vitan, Madeline St. Cyr, Maisy Colby
Grades 7-9 (click to see gallery):
- 1st place: Elektrah Lowell, Jack Freeman, William Lynch
- 2nd place: Ava Haggerty, Lilia Collard, Margaret Lynch
- 3rd place: Iris Leonard, Lilly West, Taryn Curry
Grades 10-12 (click to see gallery):
- 1st place: Catherine Lynch, Dena Arrison, Hazel Colby
- 2nd place: Alexander Dawson, Aynslie Decker, Emma Barry,
- 3rd place: Jillian Wight, Mia Hornschild-Bear, Sydney Morrison
And the Best in Show goes to …
Ariah Lowell, 12, from Biddeford, for her Harlequin Duck, which will move on to the national judging.
“The Best in Show Harlequin Duck was a standout even in this crowd of talent, right down to the sparkle in the water around the bird,” said judge Peggy Page. “It seemed to leap to life right off the paper. No one would guess that the artist was twelve years old. Amazing.”
Best in Show Conservation Message:
Zuriel Smith, 11, from Damariscotta, was the winner in this category with this message:
When we are protecting nature, we are protecting our future.
Additional judges for the conservation message: Diane Dynia, Jim Chandler, Margaret Friar, Nicole M. Pauley, Sally Stockwell, and Melissa Kim.
Congratulations to all the students who participated, and thanks to the teachers, parents, guardians, organizers, judges, and volunteers who made it all possible.