Jet Smith of Ooltewah is the Best of Show winner in the 18th annual Tennessee federal junior duck stamp art contest. He was recognized as this year’s overall winner at an awards ceremony held at Bass Pro in the Opry Mills Shopping Center in Nashville Saturday.
The Chattanooga area was well-represented in receiving honors in this year’s competition. Three winners are selected for each of the four grade divisions. There were six first-place winners from the area.
Jet, 15, is a 10th-grade home school student. He depicted a female and male king eider and used colored pencils in his winning artwork that he titled “In Royal Company.”
Jet competed in the 10th-12th grade division.
Rachael Skillman of Chattanooga was a first-place winner in the fourth-sixth grade division after earning a first-place award last year in the kindergarten-third grade category. The area swept first place in the seventh-ninth grade division with Caitlin Maupin (Ooltewah), Kelsey Skillman (Chattanooga) and McKenzie Covrig (Georgetown).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service serves as the sponsor of the contest. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency serves as a partner.
Jet’s winning artwork will appear on the Tennessee waterfowl stamp, which will be available early next year. Proceeds from the stamp’s sales go to benefit the waterfowl program. The state winner also advances to the national competition.
The 36 first-, second- and third-place Tennessee winners will also be on display at locations around the state throughout the following year. For more information about this program, display locations or to purchase a stamp, see the refuge website or call the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge at 731-642-2091.
The Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is an educational program designed to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school.