The 82nd Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is now on sale.
The image of ruddy ducks was revealed June 26 at a special event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bass Pro Shops in Memphis, Tennessee.
The 2015-16 federal duck stamp features a pair of ruddy ducks painted by wildlife artist Jennifer Miller of Olean, New York. Last fall, a panel of five judges chose Miller’s art from among 186 entries in the federal duck stamp art contest.
Miller is the third woman ever to win the contest.
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This year’s stamp costs $25, up from $15 last year. This is the first price increase for the stamp in 24 years.
Sales of the duck stamp have raised more than $800 million to protect more than 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife.
This sales of stamps is largely fueled by waterfowl hunters, who are required to buy a duck stamp each year. Birders and other outdoors enthusiasts, artists and stamp collectors also contribute to conservation by buying the stamps.
Ninety-eight percent of the sale proceeds go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetland acquisition and conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System, according to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any refuge that charges an entry fee, including Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge between Olympia and Tacoma.
A pair of wood ducks painted by Andrew Kneeland, 17, of Rock Springs, Wyoming, is depicted on the new Junior Duck Stamp, also on sale.
The junior duck stamp contest culminates a yearlong educational program that helps students learn about wetlands and waterfowl conservation, according to the release.
The winning art is made into a stamp the service sells for $5 to conservationists, educators, students and the public. The proceeds support the agency’s conservation education. Sales of Junior Duck Stamps have raised more than $1 million.
The 2015 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held Sept. 18-19.