Archive for May, 2007

Each May, this is the “view” from my bedroom dormer window. Ain’t it grand?!

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In many ways, the Massachusetts Migratory Waterfowl Stamp program differs little from programs in other states. For example, the stamp is a required part of a waterfowl hunter’s license but non-hunting conservationists wishing to protect wildlife habitat can also purchase the stamps. Once the stamps have been produced, prints are made from the original art then signed by the artist. To add value, a remarque (a small original drawing) may be included in the prints margin. The prints are then purchased by collectors. And, since 1974, the Massachusetts “Duck” Stamp program, conducted by MassWildlife in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Inc., “an international non-profit conservation organization,” has generated roughly $1,150,000.00 (through 2006) in funds that have been used to purchase and improve waterfowl habitat in Canada’s Maritime Provinces and to contribute to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

Yet, unlike the stamp art of other state programs, Massachusetts is the only series in which the design must feature a working decoy, “ducks, geese or shorebirds” that have been created by “known or unknown deceased Massachusetts carvers.” And, it is the responsibility of the artist to be able to verify that the decoy has, indeed, been created by a Massachusetts decoy maker. In this way, the “requirement celebrates both the art of decoy making–an integral part of Massachusetts’ migratory bird hunting heritage–as well as the artwork of the contestant!”

Still, the Massachusetts stamp program is approaching its 35th anniversary and, apparently, those members who conduct the art and stamp program feel that it is time to “revisit the program.” In a letter received this past week, Ellie Horwitz, Chief, Information & Education, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, asked “What can we do to make the program more attractive to today’s working artist?”

Three specific questions were posed,

  1. Have you ever entered the Mass. Waterfowl stamp competition? Have you entered more than once?
  2. If you have not entered, why not?
  3. Whether you’ve entered before or not, what would make the competition really attractive to you?

If you have not received this letter and would like to respond to these questions, please email Ms. Horwitz at ellie.horwitz@state.ma.us or, if you prefer conventional “snail” mail, please address your letter to Ms. Ellie Horwitz, Chief, Information & Education, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Field Headquarters, One Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.

Oh, and if you have plans to enter this year’s competition, please be advised that the deadline has been changed. It’s now June 30th, 2007. This is NOT a postmark date! You can also access the website at MassWildlife Waterfowl Stamp Contest for complete rules.

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