DNR News: Junior Duck Stamp Contest, Wildlife Weekend, 10 cool things

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News Digest - Week of Jan. 13, 2020

side view of a fat-tire bike next to a snowy forest and trail

Fat-tire biking is one cool way to enjoy cold-weather fun (and burn some calories!) in the great outdoors.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of most of the images used in the stories in this email are available in this folder. The Arctic grayling photo is available through the link to the original Showcasing story provided below.

K-12 students invited to enter 2020 Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Contest

2019 Michigan Junior Duck Stamp best of show winner, showing two Michigan mallard hens - one with raised wings - standing in shallow water

Calling all young artists: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting entries for the 2020 Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Contest administered by the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw. Entries must be postmarked by March 15.

The USFWS has hosted the contest in Michigan since 1995 to boost education and awareness about North America’s waterfowl and wetland resources. Sixteen-year-old Mandy He of Ann Arbor won in 2019 with her acrylic drawing of two Michigan mallard hens.

This year the program is expanding to accept all styles and types of two-dimensional visual artwork. All entries:

  • Will be judged in four groups, according to grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12.
  • May feature one of the following species: whistling ducks, swans, geese, brants, dabbling ducks, diving ducks, sea ducks, mergansers, stiff tails or Hawaiian ducks.

In addition to first-, second- and third-place entries, judges will select a “best of show” winner that will be submitted to the Federal Duck Stamp Office and entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

The first-place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp. The Junior Duck Stamp is available for $5 from the U.S. Postal Service and from many national wildlife refuges. Proceeds from stamp sales support conservation education and provide awards and scholarships for participating students, teachers and schools.

Educators are encouraged to incorporate the contest into their classrooms by utilizing the Junior Duck Stamp Program curriculum to teach students about waterfowl biology and the importance of wetland habitats. Those wanting to include even more lessons and activities can register for the DNR’s Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl middle school curriculum.

Complete entry information and rules can be found at FWS.gov/JuniorDuck.

Questions? Contact Lionel Grant, Junior Duck Stamp state coordinator, 989-759-1669.

Don't miss out on Wildlife Weekend Jan. 31-Feb. 2

Group photo of the Michigan, my Michigan participants from the 2019 Wildlife Weekend at the Ralph A. MacMullan Center

Good conversation, hearty food, roaring fires and entertaining classes about the state’s natural history – it’s all part of Wildlife Weekend, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, at the Ralph A. MacMullan Center on scenic Higgins Lake in Roscommon County.

The DNR and the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education have partnered to offer a fun learning experience that DNR education manager Kevin Frailey said is perfect for anyone 18 or older who loves the outdoors and wants to learn more about our natural world. Guests choose one of three learning tracks:

  • Feathered Frenzy. When you look at a bird, can you tell what it eats? If it migrates? Whether it’s a good parent? Can a nest location tell you if the babies are helpless? Do you wonder how birds navigate south? Why some nest here and not in Florida? Join us for activities, media and a walk in the woods to get answers to these and other questions.
Black bear in the woods, Iron River, Michigan
  • The Bear Facts. Bears are intelligent, love to eat and sleep and can outrun a racehorse! North America bruins – black, polar and brown – are mighty mammals surrounded by epic tales of danger, humor and legend. This class uses video, activities, cool props and discussion to cover biology, life cycles, lore, ecological outlook and bear safety basics.
  • Winter Omnibus. Ever wonder how to handle a winter survival situation? Learn survival basics that could come in handy! Try your hand at ice fishing on Higgins Lake, with all equipment (even some warmth) provided. You’ll also learn about snowshoes and how to choose the right pair. This class includes a snowshoe hike (shoes provided) through majestic Hartwick Pines State Park.

There will be plenty of free time to enjoy the scenery, explore trails or just get back in touch with nature. The weekend begins with dinner at 5:30 p.m. Friday, before the first class, and will run through noon Sunday. Get full Wildlife Weekend information and register online.

Questions? Contact Kevin Frailey at 517-284-6043.

ICYMI: 10 cool things the DNR did in 2019

juvenile Arctic grayling in a tank

Transporting wolves from the Upper Peninsula mainland to Isle Royale, celebrating 100 years of Michigan state parks, rebuilding the North Country National Scenic Trail, moving historic homes, preparing for the return of Arctic grayling, saving lives and so much more – 2019 was a busy year for the DNR and our many partners and volunteers.  

Taking care of the state's natural and cultural resources to ensure their health, protection and availability for future generations is a pretty big job. But for the biologists, foresters, creel clerks, park rangers, conservation officers, historians, interpreters, fire officers and everyone at the DNR, it's more of a passion.

In case you missed it, we wrote about some of those 2019 highlights in a recent Showcasing the DNR story.


Many people know that mountain biking is a great year-round activity in Michigan. Ready to hit the trails? Explore fat-tire biking options available around the state.  


If you or someone you know is planning to hunt wild turkey this spring, be sure to purchase your applications by Feb. 1. Drawing results will be posted online March 16. 


Looking for tips on sharing space with the wildlife around you? Not sure how to handle nuisance species? Visit our Living with Wildlife webpage for help.

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