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Activity for December:

That’s Just Ducky 


King Buck original artwork                              King Buck Duck Stamp

What’s a Duck Stamp?

Migratory Bird Hunters (primarily duck and goose hunters) at or over the age of 16 must possess a current signed Federal Duck Stamp, along with state licenses and permits, to hunt legally. However, anyone can purchase a duck stamp because the funds raised go to help protect wetland habitats. Often, people buy them because they are beautiful, miniature, artwork.

The duck stamps are created from one piece of winning art each year. Professional artists compete for the winning image. Several of the original drawings are housed at NCTC in Shepherdstown.

One of the drawings at NCTC, called “King Buck,” (1959) is the only winning design that had more than a duck in it!


2021 Junior Duck Stamp Contest entries

There is also a Junior Duck Stamp contest every year and the proceeds from it helps support wildlife conservation education in every state. Kids, ages 5-17 can take part!

Complete information for the Junior Duck Stamp Contest can be found at this link: https://www.fws.gov/program/junior-duck-stamp/junior-duck-stamp-contest-information

Who Can Enter:

Any K-12 student attending public, private, or homeschool in the United States and the U.S. Territories is eligible to enter, as long as you are a U.S. Citizen, resident alien, or national (a social security number, Green Card or Visa will be required for all Best of Show winners).

U.S. Citizens attending schools abroad may enter through their legal state of residence. Students may enter through their school, as a home project or as a part of a youth or community activity.


  1. Design entries must be contestant's original, hand-drawn creation and may not be traced or copied from photographs or other artists' works.
  2. Image must be a live portrayal of a native North American duck, swan or goose (refer to Eligible Species list).
  3. The entry may be multi-color, black and white, or a single color; it may be rendered in ink, paint, pastel, crayon, or pencil. Techniques may include scratch-board, airbrush, linoleum printing, paper collage, dry brush, crosshatch, pointillism, etc.
  4. No photography or computer-generated art will be accepted. Computers or other mechanical devices may not be used in creating artwork.
  5. The physical size of submitted artwork must be 9" x 12" and less than ΒΌ" thick.
  6. Image layout must be horizontal.
  7. Entries should not be matted.
  8. There should be no border around the image.
  9. A loose, detachable cover sheet may be laid over the art face to protect it during shipping. Spray chalk and pastel entries with a fixative to eliminate possible scuffing and smudging during transfer of artwork.
  10. No lettering, words, signatures or initials may appear on the front of the design. Inclusion of such markings will result in disqualification

First…Draw a duck!

You Will Need:

    • An image of the duck or goose that you wish to draw.
    • Drawing paper, size 9x12”
    • Colored pencils, crayons, pen and ink, or pencils.

    Your scenes should depict birds in their natural habitat; for example, sea ducks should be shown in ocean areas.

    Feather colors should be appropriate to the time of the year depicted by the environment. Decoratively designed birds receive equal voting consideration as realistic depictions as long as they are anatomically correct according to species depicted.

    You can look up images of the duck you choose to draw, but please do not submit work which has been copied from another source (although you can look at pictures for inspiration and decide how your artwork will look, the background, and the position of the bird.)

    Your entry must be your own creation: you can’t copy or trace anyone else’s work.

    Eligible Waterfowl

    • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
    • Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)
    • Emperor Goose (Anser canagicus)
    • Snow Goose, including blue phase (Anser caerulescens)
    • Ross's Goose (Anser rossii)
    • Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
    • Brant (Branta bernicla)
    • Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)
    • Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
    • Hawaiian Goose or Nene (Branta sandvicensis)
    • Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
    • Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
    • Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)
    • Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)
    • Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera)
    • Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
    • Gadwall (Mareca strepera)
    • American Wigeon (Mareca americana)
    • Laysan Duck (Anas laysanensis)
    • Hawaiian Duck or Koloa (Anas wyvilliana)
    • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
    • American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
    • Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula)
    • White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis)
    • Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
    • Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)
    • Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)
    • Redhead (Aythya americana)
    • Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
    • Greater Scaup (Aytha marila)
    • Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
    • Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri)
    • Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri)
    • King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)
    • Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)
    • Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)
    • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
    • White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
    • Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)
    • Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
    • Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
    • Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
    • Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)
    • Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
    • Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)
    • Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
    • Masked Duck (Oxyura dominica)
    • Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

    Submit your Junior Duck Stamp entry to your state contest by the state's deadline. All entries must be postmarked by March 15, except:

    • California, Maryland and South Dakota (entries postmarked by February 1)
    • Massachusetts and Washington (entries postmarked by February 15)
    • Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia (entries postmarked by March 1)


    Each student is encouraged, but not required, to write a short conservation message that expresses the spirit of what they have learned through classroom discussions, research and planning for their Junior Duck Stamp Contest entries.

    Conservation messages should be limited to the space provided on the entry form.

    How Art is Judged…

    Artwork is judged by group level – all K-3rd graders, 4th-6th graders, 7th-9th graders, and 10th-12th graders are judged within their age group.

    For each state, district, or territory, there are 100 awards: 12 First Place, 12 Second Place, 12 Third Place, and up to 64 Honorable Mentions.

    One student's design will be selected in each state from the 12 First Place winners as "Best of Show."

    Notification of winners will be made as soon as possible. The state coordinator and/or a member of the Duck Stamp Office staff will oversee all judging events.

    Parents and teachers can download the PDF version of our October activities here!

    We hope you enjoyed these activities!

    Submit a photo of you doing this month's activity and you may be featured on our page next month! Or, let us know if you have any suggestions for the next program theme.

    If you had fun with our activities, check out Conservation Connect: an environmental education program for students and teachers.

    Past Activities

    Friends of NCTC Program Activity

    c. 2021, Friends of the National Conservation Training Center


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