Contest deserves support

Published 9:46 pm Monday, January 13, 2014

Other than the competing artists, judges and organizers, few other people show up each January at the competition to select the artwork to be used for the next North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the duck stamp.

The competition, organized by the Washington-based East Carolina Wildfowl Guild and sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, is open to wildlife artists. The competition will be conducted Jan. 27 this year at the Washington Civic Center. Judging begins at 10 a.m.

The artwork submitted each year comes from many of the best wildlife artists in the nation. Sometimes, the competition has entries from outside the United States of America. The competition is open to the public, so take advantage of that and drop by to see excellent artwork.

The competition is a prelude to the 19th-annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships set for Feb. 7-9 in Washington. The artist whose entry takes first place in the contest will receive $7,000 in prize money and a $300 travel allowance.

Selected entries from this year’s competition will be displayed at the preview reception for the festival. At that reception, to be held Feb. 7, the top five entries will be unveiled by the Wildlife Resources Commission. The top entries will remain on display throughout the festival weekend.

Each year, the WRC specified five species/habitats for the competition. The entries must show an eligible species in an appropriate habitat in North Carolina.

Revenue from sales of the print and stamps go to the commission’s Waterfowl Fund, which provides money for the conservation of waterfowl habitat in North Carolina. The fund has raised more than $4.2 million since its inception.

“The money is used to help North Carolina meet its financial obligations in implementing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the international agreement helping restore waterfowl populations throughout the continent. In addition, funds have been used to support waterfowl research and to buy equipment used to manage wetlands,” according to the commission’s Web site.

So, come Jan. 27, treat yourself to some of the best wildlife art in the nation by attending the 2014 N.C. Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition. You will be entertained and educated.