On Friday and Saturday, Weber State University hosted the 2012 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. Events for the contest took place in the Shepherd Union Building Ballrooms. The Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest is the only juried art contest sponsored by the federal government, and this is the first year the event has been held in Utah or the Rocky Mountain region.

“It’s fantastic,” said Clark Ostergaard, a Utah artist with an entry in the contest. “I first entered the duck stamp contest back in 1974. It’s right here in Utah this year.”

The contest had 192 entries this year. Seventeen entries made the final round of judging, which was then narrowed down to first, second and third place, with the winners selected by a panel of five judges.

The first-place entry, announced shortly before 1 p.m. on Saturday, was an acrylic painting of a common goldeneye by Robert Steiner, an artist from San Francisco, Calif. This is Steiner’s second time winning the Duck Stamp contest; his first winning entry appeared on the 1998-99 Federal Duck Stamp.

The Duck Stamp, more formally known as a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, is not a postage stamp, but a stamp created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. The Duck Stamp has been around since 1934, and anyone 16 or older who wants to hunt migratory waterfowl has to purchase the stamp. In addition to allowing hunting, the Duck Stamp also allows free access to national wildlife refuges open to the public, and so many conservationists, bird enthusiasts and stamp collectors also frequently buy the stamp. Proceeds from the stamps are used for conservation and protection; 98 cents to the dollar generated by the sale of Duck Stamps goes to the purchase or lease of wetland habitat for protection.

The selection for artwork on Duck Stamps has been chosen through an art contest since 1949. For the last seven years, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has held contest events in different parts of the country every year.

“It’s been a great year as a Duck Stamp artist,” said Joseph Hautman, last year’s winner. “This program has just really such a unique crossroads of all different kinds of groups and people that come together, groups of people that normally wouldn’t even interact.”

Hautman has won the contest four times total, having gotten his first win in 1991.

“It’s just amazing, the variety of people that all kind of come together with this wonderful program that’s a plus for everybody,” Hautman said.

Each year, the contest features five species that must be chosen from for stamp design. This year, the five eligible species were the brant, northern shoveler, ruddy duck, Canada goose and common goldeneye.

Rachel Levin, a spokesperson for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

(Photo by Whitney Young) Judges vote on art for the new Federal Duck Stamp in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms.

, said WSU was a great home for the contest this year.

“Weber State has been a terrific host for the Federal Duck Stamp Contest,” she said. “All of the staff and the students and the other volunteers that we’ve had working with us have just been really helpful. It’s a beautiful place, too.”

The 2013-14 stamps featuring the new artwork will go on sale in June. The stamp costs $15.

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