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Florida Junior Duck Stamp judging

By REFUGE / DDWS - | Apr 7, 2021
PHOTO PROVIDED Justine Smith, 17, of Land O’ Lakes, took Best of Show for Florida. A student at Land O’ Lakes High School, she has been competing in the Junior Duck Stamp competition for six years and previously placed first in her age category.
PHOTO PROVIDED The judges included Sanibel artist Jim Sprankle, city of Sanibel employee Veronica Runge, Susie Hassett with Lee County Schools, J.N. “Ding” Darling Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea and Mark Danaher, supervisory wildlife biologist with the Florida Panther NWR.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge reported that the Junior Duck Stamp Contest judging for Florida takes place every year at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The program was born on the islands, thanks to the creativity of art teacher Jaye Boswell at the elementary school next door, now known as The Sanibel School. Refuge staff runs the state’s contest, which this year had 607 entries from nine schools and homeschool students. The Best-of-Show entry from Florida will go on to compete at the federal level next month. Involved with the contest for nearly 20 years, Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland reported, “We always hope our Florida best-of-show will win at the federal level. Justine’s beautiful wood duck portrait just might do it.”