AP NEWS

Spearfish student wins South Dakota’s duck stamp contest

April 8, 2019

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) — It’s been nearly a decade since a Spearfish student won Best in Show in the South Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest. Jane Doerges, 15, broke the streak recently.

“I didn’t think I’d be getting Best of Show,” Doerges told the Black Hills Pioneer.

Doerges’s art was selected from 427 entries submitted from students K-12 across South Dakota.

A sophomore at Spearfish High School, Doerges took a photo of a wood duck last year at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives and decided to give oil paints a try, recreating the photo for the contest.

“I worked on it on and off for about two-and-a-half months,” she said. “I worked on it once or twice a week, because oils take forever to dry. It was pretty long, but I mainly just started with the body of the duck and then worked out from there.”

Doerges said that she felt the artwork turned out quite well, comparing it to the photo.

“I really enjoyed painting it, because painting is something that ... calms me, and it’s a way for me to deal with my anxiety and stress with schoolwork, just stuff like that. I really enjoyed painting it,” she said.

The contest also paired well with one of her other hobbies, bird watching.

“I’m a bird nerd,” Doerges said.

Doerges is no stranger to the contest or the fish hatchery: This is the second year that she has entered the contest, and three generations of her family were honored as 2018 Distinguished Hatchery Friends in January at the Booth Society, Inc.’s Winter Mixer, including her grandparents, Joe and Carol Doerges; her parents, Kyle and Heather; and her and her brother, Tim. At the time, the family described that the children first experienced the hatchery in the stroller during their mother’s daily jogs, and since then the kids still frequently visit and volunteer at the hatchery. Both participated for all three years in Hatchery Helpers, the middle school youth volunteer program.

Doerges’s stamp now moves on to the national level of competition, set for April 19, in Washington, D.C. She will compete with the Best of Show winners from other states.

“I feel very honored for going, and in a way, representing all of South Dakota’s Junior Duck Stamp contesters,” she said.

Doerges said that she plans to keep painting, and looking ahead to career goals, she is interested in something related to biology or zoology.

She encouraged students who have never participated in the Junior Duck Stamp Contest to let themselves go and let their hands do the work.

“Don’t criticize yourself, and stay confident,” she urged.

The Junior Duck Stamp Program connects youth with nature through science and art. It teaches a greater awareness, increasing respect and appreciation for natural resources. Pairing science with visual art strives to initiate curiosity in both subjects. The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Booth Society, the nonprofit friends group of the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, coordinates the South Dakota contest.

“The artwork submitted by students was fantastic,” said Karen Holzer, South Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest coordinator and executive director of the Booth Society. “Every year I am amazed at the artistic skills the students demonstrate in the artwork. Competition is tough, with a growing number of students competing every year. ”

Holzer said it was exciting to have a Spearfish student win.

“It is always wonderful to have a local student place in an event such as this,” she said. “Jane’s art has a unique touch because she created her painting from an image of a wood duck that she had photographed on the hatchery grounds. Not only will Jane’s work be traveling to the National Junior Stamp Contest, but at the same time the image of one of our own wood ducks also will be going.”

Hannah Parrett was the last Spearfish student to win Best in Show in the contest, and she took the title two years in a row in 2009 and 2010. She placed 10th at the national contest in 2009.

In addition to the artwork judged in the contest, the students also wrote and submitted a conservation message. “Preserve the present for the wellbeing of the future” was chosen as the 2019 South Dakota Conservation message and was submitted by Erika Symens, 13, of Amherst, South Dakota. The winning conservation message will also be judged at the national level.

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com