Olean, NY Artist Jennifer Miller Wins 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest

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September 24, 2014
Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller, an Olean, NY native, is the winner of the 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, with her acrylic painting of a pair of ruddy ducks. The announcement was made on September 20th, by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Deputy Director Rowan Gould at the annual art contest, held at the Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.V.

Jennifer Miller is the third woman artist to have won the competition since it began in 1949. It is her first win. She has received no formal education beyond High School and draws inspiration from natural settings. From an early age Miller has had a desire to paint wildlife, and while her talents also include creating fantasy paintings and gemstone jewelry, her passion involves studying birds and their habitats. She resides in a rural NY setting with her husband, five parrots, and a flock of chickens.

Miller’s painting will be made into the 2015-2016 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or Duck Stamp, which goes on sale in late June 2015. The Service produces the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $15 and raises about $25 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar that the Stamp raises goes directly to benefit habitat. Since the program began in 1934 over $800 million has been raised for the purchase, lease, and preservation of over 6 million acres of vital wetland habitat.

As wetlands provide necessary habitat for a multitude of species, they also serve as a natural filtration system for our water supplies and act as the original basins for flood control. The Stamp program is more vital than ever to generate funds to protect these diminishing areas. The Duck Stamp is a necessary purchase for waterfowl hunters, however is also purchased by collectors, wildlife enthusiasts, conservationists, birders, and naturalists alike. The Stamp can also be used as a free pass into any of the National Wildlife Refuges. Anyone may purchase and benefit from the Stamp.

Ruddy Ducks are a small diving duck, native to North America. In breeding plumage, the male sports a cinnamon-red body, a black and white head, and a distinctly blue bill. They are personable ducks, and the male's display involves striking his bill against his neck to create a froth of bubbles. Ruddy ducks depend heavily on the Prairie Pothole region of the northern Great Plains region for breeding. This region is vital habitat to much of North America's waterfowl species, and is under great risk of habitat loss due to draining for agriculture. The Duck Stamp Program as well as other conservation efforts focus on this area and support of the Program will aid these species.

Purchase duck stamps at many national wildlife refuges, the U.S. Postal Service or online at http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/stamps.htm.

For more information on the Federal Duck Stamp program and contest, please visit www.fws.gov/duckstamps.