The Federal Duck Stamp, also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, is selected by distinguished judges from hundreds of submitted works of art each year. For every dollar sold, 98 cents are used for the lease and purchase of critical habitat for waterfowl, wetland birds and other wildlife. To date, the Federal Duck Stamp is one of the world’s most successful wildlife conservation programs, raising $850 million to preserve 6.5 million acres of habitat.
The contest for the selection of the 2014-2015 Duck Stamp will be held at Maumee Bay State Park Conference Center in Oregon from Sept. 27-28. Judging will take place Friday, Sept. 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 8 a.m. to noon, when the winner will be announced. The public is encouraged to attend this event and bring the whole family for fun activities for all ages. More information about the ceremony and events can be found at www.fws.gov/midwest/2013duckstamp.
To coincide with the contest, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge will hold a dedication ceremony for the Bob Hines Refuge Ranger Station from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. Bob Hines, an Ohio native, painted the Duck Stamp in 1946 and went on to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 33 years. The ranger station will honor his legacy by hosting hundreds of students each school year and connecting art and nature through environmental education and public interpretive programs.
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is hosting its first Youth Waterfowl Event on Saturday, Sept. 28. This workshop is geared toward 7-14 year old youth and designed for kids that have not hunted waterfowl before. Workshop participants will rotate through activity stations that will demonstrate a variety of beginner concepts such as waterfowl ID, decoy setups, blinds, boats, and more. Participants will leave with a goody bag and clear direction on how to become successful waterfowl hunters. Reservations for this workshop are required on or before Sept. 14; forms are available at the visitor center and at www.fws.gov/refuge/ottawa.
Check out the completely remodeled website, www.fws.gov/refuge/ottawa, for a current calendar of public programming. All programs offer insight into the National Wildlife Refuge System and encourage stewardship of Ohio’s native wildlife and their habitats.
All events are free and take place at the Visitor Center unless otherwise noted. Call 419-898-0014 for more information.