A host of talented young artists gathered at L.L. Bean on Saturday for the announcement of the winners of the 2019 Maine Junior Duck Stamp challenge. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with assistance from Maine Audubon, the Junior Duck Stamp challenge asks young Mainers from Kindergarten through High School to submit their best artistic renderings of North American waterfowl — part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation.
There are winners in each of four age categories, and the overall Best in Show for the state goes on to compete against other states and territories for the right to appear on the federal Junior Duck Stamp.
Maine Audubon and USFWS received over 500 entries to this year’s contest, up nearly 200 from 2018. With so much beautiful artwork, the judges had some very difficult decisions to make. The panel of judges — Maine Audubon’s Nick Lund, USFWS biologist Kirsten Underwood, Maine Arts Commission director of arts education Argy Nestor, and local artists and participants in the adult Federal Duck Stamp contest Georgette Kanash and Michael Boardman — brought a strong mix of biological and artistic expertise. They met at L.L. Bean on March 13 and slowly worked their way through the hundreds of entries. Dazzled by the creativity and talent from young Mainers, they finally came to conclusions and all that was left was to alert the winners.
The awards ceremony took place at L.L. Bean on Saturday, March 23. The room was packed with beaming young artists and their proud families, posing beside their displayed artwork. After a few words from Eric Topper, Maine Audubon’s Director of Education, and Bill Yeo, Retail Manager of the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School, the awards ceremony began.
There were three 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each of the four grade categories. The Best in Show winner — who would move on to represent Maine in the national competition — was announced last. For photos of all the winners, please visit our Facebook page.
And the winners are:
- Grades K-3
- 1st place winners: Isabel Facciolo; Rebecka Trundy; Jessica Loiselle
- 2nd place winners: Bixby Hawkins; Shawn Green; Brianna Olivares
- 3rd place winners: Samantha Varenkamp; Paige Martine; Brooklyn Burke
- Grades 4-6
- 1st place winners: Ariah Lowell; Audrey McLellan; Elektrah Lowell
- 2nd place winners: Emmaline Hyde; Ben Straetz; Jenna Moon
- 3rd place winners: Carrlyn Buck; Ada Cote; Brynna Fox
- Grades 7-9
- 1st place winners: Alyssa Moody; Sophia Blanco; Arianna Zaraté
- 2nd place winners: Sarah Guiltner; Susie Travis; Jacie Lavers
- 3rd place winners: Kathryn Burton; Vivien Crawford; Helen Pope
- Grades 10-12
- 1st place winners: Rebekah Guiltner; Dena Arrison; Reagan Davis
- 2nd place winners: Sydney Silva; Aynslie Decker; Gracie Morse
- 3rd place winners: Lorelei Pryor; Emma Barry; Bailey McGee
Finally it was time for the big finale, with the unveiling of the Best in Show artwork. Maine Audubon’s Linda Woodard threw off the sheet to reveal…
…Freeport High School’s Dena Arrison’s beautiful painting of a pair of American Wigeon had won Best in Show, and would be moving on the national judging! Congratulations, Dena, and all of the fantastic artists!