Congratulations to all the impressive young artists who entered this year’s Maine Junior Duck Stamp challenge! There were more than 500 entries from students in grades K through 12. The federal program, which was coordinated in Maine by Maine Audubon, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and L.L. Bean, teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. 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.
On March 11, five judges gathered at L.L. Bean to evaluate all the entries and make some tough choices. The panel included Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox, artists Michael Boardman, Bevin Holmberg, and Georgette Kanach, and USFWS biologist Kirsten Underwood. For each of the four age group categories, they chose three First Place winners, three Second Place winners, three Third Place winners, and Honorable Mentions. They also chose one overall Best in Show as well as a Best in Show Conservation Message.
And the winners are …
- 1st place: Jessica Loiselle, Harley Morgan, Mason Mehalic
- 2nd place: Karli Maling, Cooper Nye, Khloe Hartford
- 3rd place: Gabrielle Atwater, Gitta Reed, Mayka LaPierre
- 1st place: Margaret Lynch, Ariah Lowell, Olivia Lindsay
- 2nd place: Ada Cote, Carrlyn Buck, Annabelle Johnson
- 3rd place: Liana Seavey, Lilly Mae Awamleh, Julien Kind
- 1st place: William Lynch, Madelyn Thomas, Elektrah Lowell
- 2nd place: Peter Harrington, Corin Baker, Sarah Guiltner
- 3rd place: Maria Perconti, Haley Moore, Tucker Frank
- 1st place: Catherine Lynch, Saffron Labos, Dena Arrison
- 2nd place: Margaret Kazan, Celia Zimba, Helen Pope
- 3rd place: Caden Benedict, Vivien Crawford, Aynslie Decker
And the Best in Show goes to …
Saffron Labos, 16, from Freeport, for her delicate colored pencil portrait, “Watchful Waterfowl,” of a pair of Hooded Mergansers, which will move on to the national judging.
The judges commended both the technical and artistic components of the piece. Doug Hitchcox said, “The artist really captured the correct structural aspects and fine details that brought these Hooded Mergansers to life. From the vermiculated flanks on the drake, to the way the hen’s primaries stack on each other, the artist perfectly paired this couple in a scene that caught our attention and is worthy of being called Best in Show.” Wildlife artist Michael Boardman concurred, saying, “The first place winner’s piece captured both the anatomy and details of the hooded mergansers, as well as their bird personality. Excellent use of shading and subtle color gives it a nice quality of depth.”
Best in Show Conservation Message:
William Lynch, 13, from Eliot was the winner in this category with this message:
Preserving nature is our greatest gift to future generations.
Many thanks to all the students who participated, the teachers who made it possible, and the organizers, hosts, and supporters!