California Woman Wins 2005 Federal Duck Stamp Contest
Memphis, Tenn., September 15, 2005 - Wildlife artist Sherrie Russell Meline, 55, from Mt. Shasta, California, today won the 2005 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the second woman artist to win the prestigious art contest. “I am very honored and flattered, and I’m totally shocked that I won,” said Russell Meline.
Russell Meline’s painting of a Ross’ goose bested 233 other entries, including six former winning artists and will grace the 2006-2007 Federal Duck Stamp. Persistence paid off for the newest winner. Russell Meline says she entered the Federal Duck Stamp competition 15 times over the last 25 years.
Sherrie Russell Meline of Mt. Shasta, California, is the second woman in the history of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. She won with this unique rendition of Ross' Geese.
Second place went to Bruce Miller of Mound, Minnesota, who painted a Northern Shoveler, and third place went to Jim Caturia of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, who also painted a Northern Shoveler.
Eligible species for this year's contest were the Atlantic Brant, Northern Shoveler, Ross' Goose, Ruddy Duck and Canada Goose.
"Congratulations to Sherrie Russell Meline. The Duck Stamp story is a great story, and its value to all Americans in helping build the national wildlife refuge system, providing places for waterfowl hunters and others who enjoy the outdoors, and protecting millions of acres of wetlands and waterfowl habitat makes it one of the greatest conservation programs of all-time," said Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young. "And it's certainly one waterfowl hunters can be proud of. It's that story that makes this event so special. DU and Memphis are proud to play a leadership role in growing the public's awareness of this remarkable conservation and art success story."
This year was the first time in the stamp’s 71-year history that the design was chosen outside of Washington, D.C. Along with its move to Memphis, the competition was co-hosted for the first time by Ducks Unlimited, Greater Memphis Arts Council and the Memphis College of Art. The competition was surrounded by a week of public events at the Memphis College of Art and concludes with Russell Meline being featured at the Ducks Unlimited Expo this Saturday and Sunday at the Agricenter International in Memphis. DU officials expect up to 40,000 people to attend the Expo this Saturday and Sunday.
"The Federal Duck Stamp contest is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious wildlife art contest, and Memphis has welcomed us with open arms,” said U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acting Director Matt Hogan. “We want to thank our partners for making this such a successful event. Hopefully more people learned about the contest this year and will go out and purchase a Duck Stamp.”
Russell Meline, 55, was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in fine arts. She began her art career doing three-dimensional art, but was inspired to painting waterfowl after she began collecting waterfowl decoys. She and her husband own an art gallery called Wingbeat, in Mt. Shasta, California.
Her winning piece is a close-up of a Ross’s goose and took four months to complete. While she studies mounts for the fine detail of her paintings, she also spends time watching live birds.
“I watch the birds a lot and get to know them,” said Russell Meline. “You get a feel for their personality and inner being. The face of a waterfowl says everything.”
The sale of Federal Duck Stamps raises approximately $25 million each year to fund waterfowl habitat acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is sponsored each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry Duck Stamps. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp go into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which purchases wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
There are more than 540 National Wildlife Refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S. territories, and a valid Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any refuge open to the public. Refuges offer unparalleled recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching and photography. Duck stamp dollars have been used to acquire land at hundreds of refuges in nearly every state in the nation.
Ducks Unlimited Director of Communications
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Vis! it www.fws.gov/duckstamps.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year. For more information visit www.ducks.org.
Raising funds to ensure excellence in the arts and build a vibrant cultural community for everyone, Greater Memphis Arts Council is the 8th largest United Arts Fund in the nation. In addition to raising almost $3 million annually in support of the arts, the Arts Council administers Arts Build Communities grants and Student Ticket Subsidy awards through annual funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Arts Council also funds arts education through the Arts for Children & Teachers (ACT) program, which brings the arts to thousands of area schoolchildren every year.
Greater Memphis Arts Council, 8 S. Third St., Ste. 300, Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 578-ARTS, fax (901) 578-2784, www.memphisartscouncil.org.
Small by choice and purpose, Memphis College of Art is the only not-for-profit, independent art college between Atlanta and Kansas City. It is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to grant the BFA in Design Arts and Fine Arts and the MFA in Computer Arts and Studio Arts. It extends its programs to the public through gallery exhibitions, continuing education and children's classes and visiting artist lectures. For more information about the college, visit www.mca.edu.