Valley City student wins North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest
Ayden McPartland, a junior at Valley City High School, found inspiration for this year’s artwork after viewing the behaviors and interactions of tundra swans as part of a school biology project.
NORTH DAKOTA – A tranquil colored-pencil rendition of a pair of tundra swans standing in icy waters, titled “Tundra Swans at Dawn,” earned Best of Show honors in this year’s North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest, according to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The artist, Ayden McPartland, a junior at Valley City High School, found inspiration for this year’s artwork after viewing the behaviors and interactions of tundra swans as part of a school biology project.
On April 21, McPartland’s artwork will compete in the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest with competitors from all 50 states and four U.S. territories. McPartland entered the competition for the first time in 9th grade under the instruction of Valley City High School art teacher, Stephanie Krueger. As a freshman, McPartland’s artwork earned first-place recognition, and as a sophomore, her entry earned honorable mention, each year depicting a different North American waterfowl species.
A Runner-up Best of Show is selected in case the Best of Show winner is not able to advance to the national contest. Claire Powell, also a junior at Valley City High School, received the Runner-up Best of Show award this year with her acrylic painting of a drake wood duck stretching its wings over calm water.
In addition to the art contest, students are encouraged to write a conservation message. This portion of the contest is judged anonymously by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff from across the state. Savanah McKay, a sophomore from Devils Lake, wrote this year’s winning message: “Conservation is to honor those in an environment before you, and to protect those who will be there after you.” McKay’s message will be part of the national competition April 21. McKay’s art entry of an American wigeon descending toward rough water amidst a dark gray sky earned honorable mention in this year’s contest.
The Junior Duck Stamp program is a dynamic science- and art-based program open to all K-12 students. Artwork is judged in four separate age categories: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. This year, 763 students participated from across the state. A judging event took place March 30 at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge. This year’s judges included Kathy Bear, Tom Marple, Eric Wilson, Glee Mayer and Stephen McDonough.
An awards ceremony will be held May 6 at the Heritage Center in Bismarck to honor all first-, second- and third-place winners. Winning students also receive an award package that includes art- and science-related items. Scholarships are awarded to the top three artists and the winning conservation message in the national contest.
All North Dakota winning artwork will be exhibited throughout the year at national wildlife refuges, events, zoos, shopping malls, schools, Fargo Scheels and other locations across the state.
For more information about the contest, contact Colleen Graue, North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org .