For Immediate Release
Bob Ellis, 804-367-6482
NOTE: This news release was distributed on 6/30/2011. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.
Ron Louque wins Duck Stamp Contest
2011 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1
Richmond, VA — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will begin selling its 2011 Virginia State Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp on July 1, 2011. The artwork for the stamp, painted by Ron Louque, depicts a pair of redhead ducks. This is not the first time Mr. Louque's artwork appeared as a winner in Virginia, his painting of flying mallards was depicted on the first voluntary Virginia duck stamp back in 1988.
Ron Louque's painting was selected by a judging panel made up of VDGIF staff and representatives from NVC Delta Waterfowl; Waterfowl USA; Virginia Ducks Unlimited; and Virginia Waterfowlers Association. All submitted entries were produced by Virginia artists.
Ron Louque was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. As a youngster in south Louisiana, he was introduced to the beauties of nature through hunting and fishing, and by age nine he was enrolled in a taxidermy correspondence course. This art-form became a passion for the young outdoorsman and soon led him deeper into the world of birds and animals that lived in the surrounding swamps of his bayou homeland. While mounting hundreds of specimens during his teenage years, Ron's interest in the natural world continued, leading him to his formal study of nature. He entered Louisiana State University (LSU) as a wildlife biology major in 1970, but soon switched to zoology and ornithology which were more specific to his interest... birds.
Ron's introduction to art came in 1972 through the curator of the LSU Museum of Natural History. Later he was introduced to two artist-ornithologists, John O'Neill and Douglas Pratt, who were zoology graduate students as well as proficient bird painters. From them he learned the important techniques of bird illustration which have led him to his current status as a world champion waterfowl stamp artist.
In 1974, Ron began his career as a professional artist. He was immediately seen as the new Audubon-French-Cajun style, and his early work reflects that influence. His paintings, combining anatomical accuracy as well as sheer beauty, led to his becoming one of the top five duck and conservation stamp artists in the nation by the late 1980's.
Since the beginning of his art career, Ron's work has brought him national recognition and awards. These have included the Ward Foundation's World Champion Wildfowl Master title in 1984, American Masters Foundation Recipient in 1978, numerous magazine covers including Ducks Unlimited, Audubon, Louisiana Conservationist, Plow & Hearth, and others. He is most revered for his record of 27 State Conservation Stamp Art Contest wins, and his crowning achievement of winning the 2002 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. Ron entered the federal contest for the first time in 1973 and had placed in the top finalists many times before winning first place in 2002.
Stamp collectors who would like the 2011 Virginia waterfowl stamp and/or print with artwork by Ron Louque can request it by contacting Mike Hinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, 22,682 duck stamps were sold bringing in $225,820. The Department awarded four Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Grants in 2010 for projects to be started in the upcoming year totaling $128,845. Grantees included Ducks Unlimited, The Fish America Foundation, The Elizabeth River Project and the Nature Conservancy. These projects will restore over 240 acres of wetland habitat from the Eastern Shore to Wakefield.
In addition this past year the Department used duck stamp funds to purchase the Mattaponi WMA in Caroline county which contains over 800 acres of wetland habitat.
The funds generated from sales of the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp are placed in the Department's Game Protection Fund and are accounted for under a separate fund designated as the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Fund. These funds are used to contract with appropriate nonprofit organizations for cooperative waterfowl habitat improvement projects; to protect, preserve, restore, enhance and develop waterfowl habitat in Virginia through the department's waterfowl program; and to offset the administrative costs associated with production, issuance of, and accounting for the Stamp.
It is the mission of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating, and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing and boating opportunities.
For more information on waterfowl hunting in Virginia, visit the Department's Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov.
# # #
A photograph of the duck stamp available by contacting Lee.Walker@dgif.virginia.gov.