Wanted: waterfowl, annual competition seeks alluring artwork
Published 7:35 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014
As a prelude to the 20th East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships set for Feb. 6-8 in Washington, the state’s annual duck-stamp contest will take place at the Washington Civic Center on Jan. 26.
Sponsored by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and assisted by the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild, the North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition begins at 9 a.m. Five judges review the entries — about 35 from across the nation and several foreign countries — and select the top five. Those top-five entries, including the winning entry, will be unveiled during a ceremony the night of Feb. 5. They will be exhibited at the Turnage Theater during the festival weekend.
The winning entry is used as the artwork for the prints and stamps sold to help pay for North Carolina’s portion of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement aimed at protecting waterfowl and waterfowl habitat. The sales of prints and stamps also support waterfowl research and purchases equipment used in wetlands management.
The fund has raised more than $4.2 million since its inception.
This year, the five eligible species/habitats are tundra swans, black ducks, brants, gadwalls and buffleheads. An entry must present the specific species in appropriate habitat. Entries submitted by mail must be received by Jan. 23, 2015.
Scott Storm, who’s won the contest several times, including last year with his painting of two hooded mergansers, explains why he participates in the competition.
“The nice thing about the North Carolina waterfowl stamp program is they give you a variety to choose from. … What I do when I set up a stamp entry like that, I go through my reference files of all those species and see what stands out to me,” he said. “One thing that stood out to me on the hooded this year — I had a picture off of our pond. I’ve got a pond next to the house here that had some hooded in the spring,” Storm said. “What was really dramatic about it was that golden-orange water that kind of help to contrast that hooded merganser, but at the same time it the same sorts of colors the drake had on his side panels. It kind of just clicked to dramatically show the drake but just the way it set up. It meant something a little bit more to me that I shot if off the pond next to the house here.”
The artist who submits the winning entry receives $7,000 in prize money and a $300 travel allowance to help him or her attend the festival.
Judges are selected by the Washington Tourism Development Authority. Technical expertise related to waterfowl species and habitat will be provided by a wildlife biologist on the staff of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The commission established the competition in 1983.
For more information on the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and the North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition, contact the Washington Tourism Development Authority at 1-800-999-3857, via email ECWAF@littlewashingtonnc.com or online at www.ecwaf.com.