When Layne Waggoner,15, was told her art assignment was to draw a duck for a stamp design contest, she was anything but thrilled.
The Carson Valley Middle School student ended up taking second place in her age division with her drawing of a blue-beaked ruddy duck.
"It was unexpected. I've entered art contests before and never won anything," Layne said. "I didn't want to do it at first because I didn't think I could. When it was finished, though, I thought it was really good, and I was proud of myself for trying."
Several other Carson Valley Middle School students received honorable mentions in the 2012 Nevada Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest.
Art teacher Christine Groman-Meyers has made the contest a class assignment for three years.
"I believe in the mission and purpose behind the Junior Duck Stamp Program. It is important to teach conservation to our youth, so that they will continue to value and help protect the wetlands that are home to the various waterfowl species across the country," Groman-Meyers said. "We have so many incredibly talented students here at Carson Valley Middle School and I am very proud of them all."
Of the 795 Nevada student artists who submitted entries, 100 of them were recognized with a ribbon and prizes during the March 29 judging in Fallon.
"The Junior Duck Stamp Program recognizes all students who participate in the program, regardless of where they are in their artistic development," Groman-Meyers said. "This is wonderful as it gives many students the boost of confidence they need to take that spark and turn it into a flame."
A panel of five judges based their decisions on originality, photo-realism and accuracy in shape, proportion and feather and habitat coloring.
"It's a really worthwhile competition. It is a wonderful platform to bring together multiple curricula, further demonstrating how art transcends across all areas of our life," Groman-Meyers said. "This also gives the perfect opportunity to talk about plagiarism in art. We discuss the proper way to use a picture or photograph by another person as a reference, and truly make the picture their own work of art."
The entries were received throughout the state from 11 public schools, six private schools, three home schools and one community center. The Carson Valley Middle School students competed against 96 entries in their age group.
Duck stamps were created in 1934 as the federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sales of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.