Union City, Tenn.—Discovery Park of America and Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge will host the 2023 Tennessee Junior Duck Stamp Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at 5 p.m. The dinner is sponsored in part by Obion County Tourism, Ducks Unlimited and the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge. Winners will receive two free tickets to Discovery Park in Northwest Tennessee so they can spend the day exploring in advance of the ceremony. Additional tickets may be purchased at the museum’s group rate at the ticket counter.
Numerous free activities will take place on Sunday at the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge for winners and their families, such as canoe trips, archery, herp hike and a live bird of prey and snake program.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a dynamic art- and science-based curriculum that teaches students wetland and waterfowl conservation.
The program encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others. The program uses the environment as the theme to creatively teach core subjects. Students are encouraged to design a duck stamp depicting a native North American waterfowl species in their natural habitat and submit their artwork for the competition.
The competition is open to any child in grades K-12 in Tennessee. First, second, third or honorable mention ribbons are presented to 100 Tennessee students — 25 in each grade group (K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12). First, second and third place awards will be presented to 36 competitors who receive a special engraved Junior Duck Stamp plaque.
The Tennessee Best of Show winner receives the Jeannette Rudy $1,000 college scholarship, a framed Federal Duck Stamp print and his/her artwork featured on the state waterfowl stamp. Awards are provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. The Tennessee Best of Show will also go on to compete in the national Junior Duck Stamp contest.
More information and details about the contest, including how to enter, are available at fws.gov/refuge/reelfoot. Discovery Park will open a permanent waterfowl exhibit in 2023. “Duck, Duck, Goose: Waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway.”
When opened, the permanent exhibit will use a combination of stories, three-dimensional objects, interactive elements and hands-on experiences to tell the stories of waterfowl hunting and conservation. Ducks Unlimited, the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation, is the premier sponsor of the exhibit. Other partners in the exhibit include Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Five Oaks Lodge, Final Flight Outfitters, Inc., First Choice Farm and Lawn, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Deupree Family Foundation, Commercial Bank and the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. Additional partners will be announced soon.
“Being asked to host the 2023 Tennessee Junior Duck Stamp Awards Ceremony at Discovery Park of America is an honor and privilege. We’re a natural fit given our location along the ancient Mississippi Flyway near historic Reelfoot Lake, and our commitment to inspire children and adults to see beyond through our daily interactive STEAM educational initiatives,” said Dr. Emalee Buttrey, Discovery Park’s director of education, programming and museum experience. “We look forward to welcoming these young artists and their guests from across Tennessee to what is arguably the most important region in the state for waterfowl conservation.”