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Park Rapids student wins Minnesota Jr. Duck Stamp Contest

Luke Hartung, a junior, became the sixth Park Rapids Area High School (PRAHS) student to win the Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest.

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Luke Hartung's painting of Canada geese won the 2022 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest. It will represent the state at the federal contest.
Contributed / Luke Hartung
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PARK RAPIDS, Minn. — Luke Hartung, a junior, became the sixth Park Rapids Area High School student to win the Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest.

The high school holds the state record for the most champions from one school.

Hartung’s oil painting of a pair of Canada geese received first place and was also voted the “Best of Show” for the 2022 state contest.

His artwork will represent Minnesota at the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

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Hartung said he was inspired to paint the Canada goose because they “are my favorite waterfowl bird to see, hear and hunt.” <br/>
Contributed / Mike Hartung

Hartung said he was inspired to paint the Canada goose because they “are my favorite waterfowl bird to see, hear and hunt.”

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This was Hartung’s first time submitting an entry to the Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Contest. He has been painting for three years, and his father, Mike Hartung, teaches art at the high school.

He opted to use oil paints. “I like the blending quality of oil paints,” he explained. “I also like that they take awhile to dry, so I have more time to work on it.”

Hartung is also involved in football, basketball, track and the ice-fishing club.

He encourages other youth to participate in the contest. “Just give it a shot and you might surprise yourself,” he said.

The Junior Duck Stamp Program is an arts and science curriculum designed to teach youth about waterfowl and their habitat needs.

Any K-12 student attending public, private or home school may enter the competition.

Artwork must depict native North American species – like teal, wood ducks, trumpeter swans, geese or mergansers – in their natural habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides the complete list of eligible waterfowl species.

All artwork must be an original, hand-drawn creation. No tracing or copying from photographs or other artists’ work is allowed. Each student is encouraged to write a short conservation message.

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During the state contest, artwork was judged in four groups according to grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Three first, three second and three third place entries, along with 16 honorable mentions, were selected from each group.

Contest judges selected Hartung’s work as “Best of Show,” which will be submitted to the Federal Duck Stamp Office in Washington, D.C. and entered into the 2022 National Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

A panel of five national judges will review the “Best of Show” artwork from all 50 states and choose one winner to appear on the Junior Duck Stamp. Judging will begin on April 22. The winning art will be made into a stamp, which goes on sale beginning June 24.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this stamp has become “a much sought after collector's item.” Proceeds from the sale of the $5 colorful stamp are invested into the Junior Duck Stamp Program to support conservation education.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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