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Community Member Mariah Bacon Finalist in National Duck Stamp Competition

Community member and Elko High School senior Mariah Bacon's acrylic painting of a northern pintail duck receives Best of Show at the 2017 Nevada Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Mariah Bacon, 17, was a finalist in the 2017 National Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest. Bacon is from Elko, Nevada, a town about four hours north of Reno. She is the daughter of Community member Eric Bacon and Carisa Anchondo. She attends Elko High School, where she is enrolled in studio art. She has earned various awards for her drawing and painting projects.

A federal duck stamp is similar to a postage stamp. Duck stamps are issued by the federal government and must be purchased by hunters in order to get a license to hunt migratory birds like geese and ducks.

The first duck stamp was issued in 1934. Every year, a design competition is held to choose a new design for the next year’s stamp, with adult artists from across the country submitting their original artwork. In 1993, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially launched the national Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, “It encourages students to explore their natural world, participate in outdoor recreation activities, and learn wildlife management principles. Some 3,000 Junior Duck Stamps are sold annually for $5 each.”

In March, judging took place in Las Vegas for the Nevada state contest. Bacon’s entry, an acrylic painting of a northern pintail duck, was selected as Best of Show.

“I didn’t even know about the junior duck stamp program, but my art teacher Pat Long encouraged me to enter the competition. He said it was for conserving wildlife, so I said, ‘That’s even better. I’ll do it.’ So I decided to paint the northern pintail duck,” said Bacon who then travelled to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Las Vegas, Nevada for the competition. She met all the other artists from the state.

“I was really surprised when I got the email saying I won Best of Show. I just didn’t expect to be a winner at all, so it was really surprising, but I was super excited,” said Bacon. “Upon hearing the news, my family was super happy for me and telling all my family from Nevada and Arizona. They were all supportive and they want me to do it again next year.”

As the winning artwork for Nevada, Bacon’s painting went on to represent that state in the national art contest in Charleston, South Carolina, in April, competing with artwork submitted by 51 other students from across the country.

The winner whose design will be on the 2017–18 Junior Duck Stamp is Isaac Schreiber from Virginia. His painting of a pair of trumpeter swans received first-place honors. The winning conservation message by an artist from Creek, Georgia, read, “Conservation is the promise that the children of tomorrow will witness the beauty of today.”

Proceeds from the purchase of duck stamps support conservation of American wetlands and waterfowl habitat, with 98 percent of each sale going to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.