A talented young artist from Virginia has taken top honors at the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. A hooded merganser by 15-year-old Mila Linyue Tong, will grace the 2023-2024 Junior Duck Stamp, which raises funds to educate and engage our nation’s youth in wildlife and wetlands conservation and outdoor recreation.
A panel of five judges chose the entry, painted in acrylic, from among best-of-show entries. Students from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. Territories participated in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program.
“This is one my favorite events every year!” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams. “I’m honored to announce the winners of this prestigious contest that is actually the culmination of thousands of students exploring their natural world through science, art and writing, sharing their gift with others, and nurturing a lifelong love of nature and the outdoors.”
Students in kindergarten through grade twelve participate in their annual state Junior Duck Stamp Program through their school, home, art studio or after-school group, or from a national wildlife refuge , park or nature center. After learning about wetlands, waterfowl and wildlife conservation, they express their learning through a drawing or painting of a duck, goose or swan.
The top piece of art in the nation – chosen at this annual competition – is featured on the Junior Duck Stamp, sales of which support educational programs and activities that nurture our next generation of conservationists.
The Junior Duck Stamp Program began in 1989 as an extension of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Duck Stamp. The first national Junior Duck Stamp art contest was held in 1993. The program encourages students to explore their natural world, participate in outdoor recreation activities, and learn wildlife management principles. Approximately 3,000 Junior Duck Stamps are sold annually for $5 each.
Second place winner is Arianna Sun, 14, from Georgia, with an oil painting of a cinnamon teal.
Third place went to 16-year-old Emily Lian from Oregon who entered a pair of mallards painted in oil.