The graceful canvasback duck, which inhabits the prairie wetlands of North Dakota, was the subject in a winning artwork that was named Best of Show in the North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mark Staples, 17, of Harwood, titled his winning artwork "Simple Reflections," which was created using prisma-color colored pencils. Staples has participated in the Junior Duck Stamp Contest for nine years, having received one first-place, two second-place, two third-place and two honorable mentions in that time span.
Staples began his Junior Duck Stamp career in third grade, with encouragement from his teacher, Mrs. Ahles. Staples worked on many of his later projects at home, and then met Marjorie Teske, instructor at Studio-on-the-Prairie in Souris, N.D. Teske has provided artistic guidance to Staples for the past two years.
When asked to estimate time spent on his artwork entry this year, Staples said his best guess was "around 50 hours." His time and effort paid off, as his artwork was selected from 1,184 entries received from throughout North Dakota.
Staples attends West Fargo High School, where he is the junior class president, and active in both student council and student congress. This past year, he was elected as N.D. State Student Council Vice President.
He enjoys outdoor activities where he can be found with camera and sketch pad in hand.
In April, Staples' artwork will compete at the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, along with other state and U.S. territory entries. The winner of the national contest will have his or her entry made into a Junior Duck Stamp that is sold for $5, with proceeds supporting conservation education programs.
Logan Lamoureux, a 12-year-old from Westhope, N.D., received Best of Show Runner-Up honors for his artwork titled "Lookout," an acrylic painting feature blue-winged teal.
The North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Banquet and Awards Ceremony was held May 5 for all first-, second-, and third-place winners at the Ramkota Inn in Bismarck. Winning students received ribbons and prizes, donated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, and wildlife clubs from throughout North Dakota.
The winning artwork will be exhibited throughout the state at national wildlife refuge events, zoos, shopping malls, Fargo Scheels, and other locations throughout the year.