Duck stamp festivities in Twin Cities all next week

Bloomington, Minn. -_Given the past successes of its artists, it
seems only apropos that Minnesota host the Federal Duck Stamp
contest – as supporters celebrate 75 years of the stamp – and the
events that surround it. Seventeen times have artists from
Minnesota claimed victory in one of the best known of wildlife art
contests.

Three times each it has been won by brothers Jim and Joe
Hautman, as well as once by their brother Bob. Other state artists
whose work has graced the federal stamp include Les Kouba, David
Maass, Jim Killen, and Scot Storm.

Having the event in a state with so many artists, and a state
that has so many duck hunters, makes sense, says Jim Leach, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service refuge supervisor for the Minnesota
Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

“It’s a pretty big deal for us and all the partners involved
with this,” he said.

This is only the fourth time the contest has been held outside
of Washington, D.C., Leach said.

The Duck Stamp itself dates back to 1934, when President
Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Migratory Bird Hunting and
Conservation Stamp. Though the stamp had been around for more than
a decade, the contest first was held in 1949. Minnesotans have
accounted for about one-third of the winning art.

As part of the contest celebration, a number of family oriented
events will take place in and around the Bloomington refuge, Leach
said.

The highlight will be the unveiling of the 270 works of art that
will vie for top honors, at a public ceremony at the Bloomington
Art Center, at 1800 West Old Shakopee Road. The event will take
place at 9 a.m. on Oct. 10. The art will be available for public
viewing until Oct. 18, when a winner is selected.

The unveiling will kick off a week of events surround the Duck
Stamp competition.

Highlights:

€ Sunday, Oct. 12, 1-4 p.m.: The Family Walk for Wetlands,
sponsored by Ducks Unlimited and Audubon. This event includes
walking tours of the Minnesota Valley NWR.

€ Tuesday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Kids in Nature Day.
Cabela’s, Pheasants Forever, the state DNR, Refuge Friend, Inc.,
and the USFWS will host elementary students who will take part in
photo clinics, bird-banding demonstrations, and more.

€ Wednesday, Oct. 15, 6-9 p.m.: Meet the Artists Night. Several
former federal Duck Stamp artists, judges, and this year’s entrants
will be available for conversation.

€ Thursday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Youth and Family Hunting
Expo. The Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club and the Minnesota Waterfowl
Association have teamed up for this family event.

€ Friday, Oct. 17: Joe Hautman, last year’s federal Duck Stamp
winner, will be signing posters for the public all day the
Bloomington Art Center.

€ Friday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Stamp Cachet Sales and
Cancellation.

€ Friday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.: Opening Ceremony, Bloomington Art
Center auditorium.

€ Friday, Oct. 17, 10:30 a.m.: First round of judging
begins.

€ Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Vintage Decoy Display
continues.

€ Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1-5 p.m.: Joe Hautman
poster signing.

€ Saturday, Oct. 18, 3 p.m.: Stamp Cachet Sales and
Cancellation.

€ Saturday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Round 2 of stamp
judging.

€ Saturday, Oct. 18, between noon to 1 p.m.: federal Duck Stamp
contest winner announced.

To learn more about the Duck Stamp and other contest events, see
www.fws.gov/duckstamps/

2008contest.htm. To buy a Duck Stamp, call (800) 782-6724.

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