Local Student’s Art Work Wins First in the State

By Jayna Smith

Owen Brown is pictured displaying his artwork that won him a blue ribbon in the Maine Junior Duck Stamp Contest.  In addition to a blue ribbon, Owen’s prize package consisted of a T-shirt and the bird book The Sibley Guide to Birds. 


Calais Elementary School third grade student Owen Brown recently learned his entry in the Maine Junior Duck Stamp Program won first place.  The program is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and gives students the chance to use their artistic abilities, while at the same time provides the opportunity to learn about wildlife and conservation. 

Steve Agius, Assistant Manager for the Moosehorn and Aroostook National Wildlife Refuges, is the Maine Coordinator for the Junior Duck Stamp Contest.  He says this unique program “is an arts and science curriculum teaching biology and habitat conservation, with a focus on wetlands and waterfowl conservation.”

Nearly 450 pieces of artwork depicting North American waterfowl were submitted from students in grades Pre-K to 12 from across Maine for the 19th annual contest.  Owen competed against others across the state in the grades Pre-K to three division. 

A full day was put in by Owen for his piece, which he carefully created using acrylic paint.  He said he got his artistic abilities from his mother Lea Brown.  When asked why he decided to enter the contest, Owen stated, “My dad introduced me to it.”  Moreover, his older brother Ethan was a first place winner last year in the same age division. 

Owen’s painting depicted a Barrows Golden Eye bird.  When asked why he chose that particular bird to paint, he stated, “It’s a rare bird and I’ve seen it.”  He went on to explain how he saw one with his father Ray Brown not long before the contest. 

Congress passed The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Act of 1991 to authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use revenues from the sale of Junior Duck Stamps to promote conservation education in the form of awards and scholarships to the students, teachers and schools that participate in the program. 

Junior Duck Stamps are sold for $5 each by the U.S. Postal Service, Amplex Corporation, and various National Wildlife Refuges.  Proceeds from the sale of Junior Duck Stamps are returned to states for environmental and conservation education programs.