OGDEN -- On Friday, judges charged with selecting the 2012 Federal Duck Stamp image pared down 192 artistic entries to 75.
On Saturday morning, the panel of judges gathered at Weber State University to score each entry again by holding up scores hidden from other judges but visible to the audience as each new image was shown. As artists and art fans looked on, the judges eliminated all but 17 paintings.
And at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, the final announcement was made. The 2013 Federal Duck Stamp will feature a common golden eye, with fine green feathering on its head, white cheeks, and a black and white body. The painting, an acrylic by San Francisco artist Robert Steiner, will be used for the 2013-14 Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale for $15 in late June 2013.
The stamp is not postage but is sold as a fundraiser, with proceeds going to wetlands and wildlife conservation efforts. A current Duck Stamp can also be used for free admission to any National Wildlife Refuge open to the public.
This is Steiner's second Federal Duck Stamp contest win. His art previously appeared on the 1998-99 Federal Duck Stamp. Steiner was not present for the announcement.
"Whether you buy a Duck Stamp to hunt waterfowl, add to your stamp collection, admire in a frame, or contribute to conservation, you are buying a piece of history," said Jerome Ford, the service's assistant director for migratory birds.
"For nearly 80 years, hunters, wildlife watchers, and millions of other people who purchase Federal Duck Stamps have made a direct contribution to wildlife conservation through the protection of wetland habitats."
This is the first time the juried, government-sponsored Duck Stamp competition was held in Utah.
"The thing that made it special for us was the involvement of Weber State University," said Rulon Gould, United States Fish and Wildlife Service deputy director.
"They brought in school kids yesterday to help them understand conservation. That is the first time I have seen that happen."
As "Disco Duck" played on the sound system, Gould said his next stop with the competition over was to head north and check out the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
"I am looking forward to it," he said. "The Great Salt Lake area is one of the major flyways in the country for waterfowl. "The migrating birds funnel through. This area is very important to water birds."