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Stroud wins state stamp-design competition for second year in a row

CORVALLIS - Jerramy Stroud gave up a lot of skateboarding time this spring to put the final touches on his 2000 Montana Junior Duck Stamp entry, an acrylic painting entitled "Stump."

The prize-winning artwork features a pair of wood ducks, with the less colorful female perched on an old wooden stump.

"The male duck head took me forever," said Stroud, 17. "I redid it six times."

But his efforts proved all worth it Friday, when five judges - for the second year in a row - selected Stroud's entry as Best of Show. The judging of the 508 entries from Montana students in kindergarten through high school took place at Teller Wildlife Refuge near Corvallis.

Stroud, the son of Ella and John Stroud, was surprised when contest coordinators contacted him at school Friday afternoon to notify him he had won.

"I try hard," he said.

And this year's entry was a struggle, he said. The high school junior felt more pressure in preparing his entry.

"It was more stressful this year because I felt it had to be better than last year's," he said. "Now that I won it's fun."

An avid skateboarder, Stroud put the painting ahead of the sport for about a month and a half.

He visited the University of Montana and Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge to research the birds and shoot photographs of stumps. He spent as much as eight hours a night working on the painting.

"I think he did a great job with composition," said John Ormiston, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist and Bitterroot Audubon member.

While Ormiston looked for the accuracy of the rendition, each of the other judges sought out a variety of other qualities.

The judges had various backgrounds and expertise, each bringing a different perspective to the critiquing process. While Ormiston looked for accuracy, artist and gallery owner Monte Dolack of Missoula looked at a combination of design, use of color and integration of the bird in its environment.

Judges also kept in mind how well the artwork would reproduce on a stamp.

"This had a simplistic background that doesn't take away from ducks," said Joe Thornbrugh, who has judged all six years that the Montana Junior Duck Stamp Contest has been conducted. "The birds are the dominant feature. We also need to choose something that can compete against the other 49 states."

Stroud's painting, along with Best of Show winners from other states, will be entered in the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest in Washington, D.C., later this spring. The contest is part of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to encourage conservation through the arts.

This year's project called for a realistic rendition of a duck, goose or swan in its native habitat.

Stroud's wood ducks will be in the running for the national Best of Show, which will become the design for next year's Junior Duck Stamp. Revenue from the sale of the stamps is used to promote conservation education in the form of awards and scholarships to the students, teachers and schools that participate in the program.

This year's contest in Montana drew entries from 143 K-3 students, 150 fourth- through sixth-graders, 151 seventh- through ninth-graders and 61 10th- through 12th-graders.

Awards will be given to first, second and third place winners in each age group.

Stroud earned a $200 savings bond, binoculars, an art portfolio with hardwood drawing board, custom matting and framing of his artwork and various other prizes.

If you're interested

Winning artwork from Friday's judging will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Teller Wildlife Refuge.

Teller is also teaming up with Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge for a day of waterfowl celebration. While the artwork is displayed at Teller, visitors can also stop at Lee Metcalf to view migrating waterfowl with the aid of refuge staff and Bitterroot Audubon birding experts. That event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, contact Lee Metcalf Refuge at 777-5552 or Teller Wildlife Refuge at 961-8346.

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