Woodbury student’s recognition just duckyEarlier this spring, Red Rock Elementary School art teacher Neng Curtis assigned her students to enter artwork in the annual 2012 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest, where they created portraits of ducks.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Earlier this spring, Red Rock Elementary School art teacher Neng Curtis assigned her students to enter artwork in the annual 2012 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest, where they created portraits of ducks.
The effort paid off big for one student.
Third grader Yasemin Yucesan received the Special Student Honors Award, which means her drawing was chosen to be the visual representation to promote the Junior Duck Stamp in Minnesota next year.
“She’s always so detail oriented,” Curtis said. “She puts a lot of extra effort in there.”
Yucesan said she was excited to have her drawing chosen.
An award presentation was held April 21 at the National Valley Wildlife Refuge Center in Bloomington.
“I like art because you can draw whatever you want,” Yucesan said.
Additionally, Red Rock Elementary fourth grader Michael Duthie received an Honor Mention Award and Ribbon for his duck painting.
A total of 29 students entered the contest. All students received participation certificates.
However, Curtis also took the time to teach her students about the science associated with ducks.
Junior Duck Stamp
The Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest, for grades kindergarten through twelfth, is the culmination of the Junior Duck Stamp educational program, according to the Duck Stamp website.
There were a total of 1,179 design contest entries this year, with 100 winners selected.
After studying waterfowl anatomy and habitat, students articulated their newfound knowledge by drawing, painting or sketching a picture of an eligible North American waterfowl species.
Yucesan’s duck portrait depicts a mallard with crayon and marker.
“My favorite duck is mostly the mallard duck,” she said. “I like ducks because they’re kind of friendly and you can also feed them and see what they look like up close.”
According to the Junior Duck Stamp organization, the program’s goal is to educate children through dynamic arts and science curriculum about the importance of waterfowl and wetland habitat conservation. In addition, it helps connect children with the outdoors and teaches awareness of our nation’s natural resources.
Winners from these competitions, called the "Best of Show," are then submitted to the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest. One image from the 53 Best of Show entries will become the next Junior Duck Stamp.
Junior Duck Stamps are sold for $5 each by the U.S. Postal Service, Amplex Corporation, and various National Wildlife Refuges. Proceeds are returned to states for environmental and conservation education programs.
Learning the science of art
Curtis said she first heard about the Junior Duck Stamp art competition from her husband, who is heavily involved with conservation efforts.
“My husband’s really big on conservation and natural resources and just enjoying the outdoors,” she said, “He’s passionate about the idea of slowing down and enjoying nature while still trying to preserve it.”
Curtis said he had wanted to assign the contest for the past few years, but never really found the time in her class to do it until this year.
In addition to the art project, Curtis also spent time during class educating her students about ducks.
Curtis printed out pictures of different ducks to talk about the different species, their anatomy and their habitats.
Curtis said she hopes to make the Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest an annual assignment for her art students.
“I thought it was one of those assignments where they could learn something at the same time, but still leave some room to be creative,” she said. “The students learn something in the classroom that they can then take out into the world – they learn to appreciate nature.”