By Joe Healy
In September, following two days of competition, Eddie LeRoy of Eufala, Alabama, was declared winner of the Federal Duck Stamp competition for his painting of a pair of black-bellied whistling ducks. The event was held at Patuxent Research Refuge, in Laurel, Maryland.
LeRoy’s acrylic will serve as the 2020-’21 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp—also known as the “Duck Stamp”—which will go on sale in June 2020. The Duck Stamp sells for $25 and raises about $40 million each year to protect wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The judges for this year’s contest were artist Walter Matia, biologist Brian K. Schmidt, conservation partner and philatelist David Elwing, artist Wayne Knight and artist Peggy Watkins. Cory McLaughlin of Wells, Texas, placed second with his oil painting of a black-bellied whistling-duck pair, and Frank Mittelstadt of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, took third place with his acrylic of a bufflehead pair. Eligible species for this year’s contest were the black-bellied whistling duck, emperor goose, American black duck, bufflehead and northern shoveler.
“These artists are extremely talented,” said US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, “and the quality of the art is matched by the incredible conservation work funded by Duck Stamp sales.”