A dramatic acrylic painting of a Long-tailed Duck by Joshua Spies of South Dakota is the winner of the 2009-1010 “duck stamp” contest held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There were 270 entries in this year’s contest, and entrants had been asked to depict one of the following species of waterfowl: Canada Goose, Brant, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, or Long-tailed Duck. The first-through third-place entries are illustrated on the contest results page.

Funds raised through the mandatory purchase of the $15 duck stamp by waterfowl shootists, are used for habitat conservation. More than $750 million dollars has been raised by selling duck stamps, according to FWS figures. The stamps have been required since 1934.

“The Duck Stamp is a significant funding mechanism for the Service to acquire land for the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Jim Leach, a refuge supervisor for the FWS and chairperson for the Federal Duck Stamp planning committee. “These lands provide critical habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. The lands are also open to the American public, and provide hunting, fishing, and environmental education opportunities. The contest to select the artwork involves the arts community, birders, nature enthusiasts, hunters, and stamp collectors.”

“Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sales of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System,” according to details on the duck stamp web page.

Spies, from Watertown, has a degree in fine arts degree from South Dakota State University. He previously competed in the federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – better known as the duck stamp – contest, and previously placed first in the South Dakota duck stamp competition, and has been featured in “Wildlife Art” magazine, according to information on his website.

Judging was held and the winner was announced during a two-day contest held the weekend of October 18th, at the Bloomington Art Center, in Minnesota.

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