Gaerke places second in statewide contest



OAK HARBOR — Russia High School senior Samantha Gaerke placed second in the Ohio Junior Duck Stamp Contest. She was honored during the 2019 Conservation Through the Arts ceremony on April 27 in Oak Harbor.

Gaerke’s multi-media project will be one of 20 from the state of Ohio, that was chosen to be exhibited at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center in Oak Harbor, Ohio for the next year. Gaerke chose to create a Northern Pintail Dabbling Duck. They are a long, slender duck with long, narrow wings.

“I am honored to receive this recognition,” she said. “There were many beautiful pieces of artwork and I encourage others to look into the competition. It has four different age groups starting with kindergarteners and go through high school. There is also an adult/professional competition that I hope to participate in the future.”

A family member encouraged her to look into the competition last fall. With the help of Russia’s high school art teacher, Judy Yoder, Gaerke was able to complete and enter the project.

“I am excited to be chosen for this award.” Gaerke will be studying at the Ohio State University in Columbus this fall where she will be double majoring in Industrial Design and Agricultural Communication. “I have always had a passion for art and love that I will be able to pursue a degree where I can incorporate that passion into my day to day career.”

Gaerke is the daughter of Jason and Judie Gaerke of Russia.

The Ohio Junior Duck Stamp Contest is a statewide, annual competition that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1989. Its goal was to teach the importance of conserving our Nation’s wetlands and to expand the Federal Duck Stamp conservation program. This is the only federally mandated art competition. Wild life artists, both professional and amateur, all across the United States vie for the coveted title of “Federal Duck Stamp Artist.” All 50 states participate. Each state is able to pick one Best of Show to send to the national contest. The winner of the national contest becomes the image that is on the Junior Duck Stamp that is produced for the United States Postal Service. Information and rules on the contest can be found by searching: “Ohio Duck Stamp Contest.”