OGDEN -- A local artist's talent was chosen to represent the entire state in a contest where the winning work is purchased by thousands of people nationwide.
Jaycee Gray, a 15-year-old student at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville, recently won Best of Show honors in the 14th Annual Utah Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest.
For her winning entry, "Morning Mallards," Gray used Prismacolor pencils to depict a male and female mallard duck pair, a common sight throughout the state.
Her entry was chosen from 480 statewide to compete with 50 others in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn. Nationwide, more than 26,000 entries were submitted.
For the second year in a row, the entry from Ohio was chosen to appear on the 2010-2011 Federal Junior Duck Stamp. The Fish and Wildlife Service sells the stamp for $5 to collectors, conservationists and the general public. The new stamp will be released on June 25.
The stamp contest is the culmination of a year-long Junior Duck Stamp conservation curriculum used by teachers nationwide. The program educates students about the importance of wetlands and the waterfowl species who use them -- a popular topic in Northern Utah, where Great Salt Lake and its surrounding wetlands see more than 230 species of birds throughout the course of a year.
Stamp entries are viewed as a sort of final exam for the program, where students use what they have learned to help them draw a North American waterfowl species in its proper habitat.
Entries from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island won second and third place, respectively. You can view the winners from each state online at http://www.smm.org/duckstamp/2010/.