The United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of Interior announced that the next Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Art Contest will be held at Drake University on Sept. 25–26, 2020.
Jay N. “Ding” Darling’s drawing on a piece of cardboard in 1934 led to the creation of the Federal Duck Stamp Program, which has raised more than $1.1 billion for the acquisition and preservation of more than 6 million acres of wildlife habitat. His image of a Mallard drake and hen alighting in wetlands is one of the most widely published and recognized example of wildlife art today.
Darling’s other contributions to conservation have been equally important. He helped to establish 28 National Wildlife Refuges and was the founder and the first president of the National Wildlife Federation. He drew the flying goose symbol that marks every National Wildlife Refuge, including the famous J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Fla. Darling also conceived the Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit and began the first with his personal funds. Today there are cooperative units in 40 universities across the nation. The Canadian Duck Stamp program, established in 1985, was based on Darling’s model. Both the Darling Dam in Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Darling in Brighton, Iowa honor his name and conservation efforts.
“Bringing the Duck Stamp home to Des Moines, Iowa where Darling, a nationally syndicated Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist at the Des Moines Register, awakened the nation to the need to conserve its limited natural resources, will honor vision, conservation, and stewardship over the next year,” said Drake University Duck Stamp 2020 Chairperson Sam Koltinsky. “Maynard Reece, whom Darling mentored, will be celebrating his 100th Birthday in 2020 and will be honored with a special exhibit at Drake University along with showcasing duck enthusiast Richie Prager’s extraordinary collection of winning Duck Stamp entries.”