Ruddy Ducks took center stage on Friday, June 26, as the 82nd Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp went on sale.
The 2015-16 Duck Stamp features a pair of Ruddy Ducks painted by Jennifer Miller, of Olean, New York. A panel of five judges chose Miller’s acrylic from among 186 entries at the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest last fall. Miller is only the third woman to win the contest.
The new stamp is available for purchase online, at many sporting goods and retail stores, and at some post offices and national wildlife refuges. It costs $25, up from $15 in previous years.
The increase was the first in 24 years — the longest period without an increase in the program’s history. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the higher price will allow the service to devote more funds to conserving wetlands that benefit birds and other species.
Sales of the stamp, mostly to waterfowl hunters, have raised more than $800 million to protect more than six million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife. Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a current stamp. Birders, conservationists, and collectors also purchase the stamp.
The stamp is good for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetland acquisition and conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The 2015 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held September 18 and 19, 2015, at the National Conservation Training Center, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
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