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MARKEY: Outlook is delightfully Grimm for duck stamp

06/24/2014, 12:00am EDT
By MATT MARKEY BLADE OUTDOORS EDITOR
Outlook is delightfully Grimm for duck stamp

Adam Grimm, an Elyria, Ohio, native, won the 2013 Federal Duck Stamp contest with his oil painting of a pair of canvasbacks. The Blade/Jetta Fraser

Adam Grimm will be in Washington on Friday as a central figure in all of the pomp and circumstance that goes along with having his artwork featured on the 2014-15 Federal Duck Stamp. The formal “First Day of Sale” ceremony takes place at the Department of the Interior in the heart of our nation’s capital with dignitaries, a lot of people in suits, and a visible security presence.

On Saturday, the native Ohioan comes back to the Buckeye State for a much more relaxed and much less structured public celebration of the release of the stamp bearing his winning creation of a pair of canvasback ducks. Bass Pro Shops in Rossford will host the affair.

“The Bass Pro event is really a bonus because for a lot of people, it will be their first chance to see the stamp and get it signed,” Grimm said. “Not a lot of people are able to go to Washington, D.C., for the actual first day of issue, so this is a big deal for me and my family.”

Grimm, who has another piece of his art gracing the 2014 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, will have his works on display at Bass Pro beginning at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m., a signing ceremony will be held with Ohio Division of Wildlife chief Scott Zody, Dave Scott from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, and representatives from Ducks Unlimited expected to be on hand. Stamps will be available for purchase at this event.

There will also be a collectable program available that displays Grimm’s winning 2013 entries in the Federal Duck Stamp competition, the Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp competition, and his winning entry from the 1999 Federal Duck Stamp competition. All three of Grimm’s winning stamps can be canceled and signed by the artist at Bass Pro until 4 p.m.

Grimm, a former Elyria resident who now lives in South Dakota, expects to ride an emotional whirlwind through the weekend.

“Seeing the stamp for the first time and realizing how many people are going to be owning it and carrying it with them — it is a really remarkable thing,” he said. “To see something that you worked so hard on for so long, and there it is — there is no real way to prepare for that moment.”

Since its inception in 1934 when it sold for $1, the Duck Stamp, which is officially the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, has generated some $850 million for the acquisition and protection of more than 6.5 million acres of wetlands and grasslands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Hunters over the age of 16 must purchase a Duck Stamp each year in order to hunt migratory waterfowl, but duck stamps are also purchased by collectors, birders, conservationists, educators, and many others. A Federal Duck Stamp also serves as an entry pass to national wildlife refuges.

The Federal Duck Stamp sells for $15, and sales of the stamp raise about $25 million each year. The duck stamp program is generally regarded as one of the most efficient and successful conservation efforts in the world. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar invested in the program is used to secure permanent conservation of critical wildlife habitat.

Grimm, 35, who must sit out the Duck Stamp art competition for the next three years, per contest rules, said he has been painting wildlife art since he was 3 and selling his works since age 13. His winning artwork was selected from a field of finalists at the 2013 contest, which was held on the shores of Lake Erie at the Maumee Bay State Park Conference Center.

The Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest is the only legislatively mandated federal art competition in the United States, and as one of the most prestigious contests of its kind anywhere in the world, it attracts the top wildlife artists. Since the initial open competition was held in 1949, thousands of wildlife artists have submitted their work for consideration for the prestigious honor.

Grimm, who attended the final round of judging and was present when his painting was chosen as the 2013 contest winner, said having his wife and children, his parents, and his grandmother all there to enjoy that moment made it one of the best experiences of his life. But he did not go into the last round believing he would win.

“I’m not a superstitious person, but I had significant doubts going into the contest,” he said. “As a rule, I don’t like going and watching myself being judged. It’s very stressful, and I honestly didn’t think that it would work out in my favor. I had a pretty decent entry, but I didn’t think I’d win.”

Grimm’s victory last fall capped off a big year for his family — his daughter, Madison, had previously won the Junior Duck Stamp competition. Madison is also expected to attend the Bass Pro event.

The 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, to select the artwork for the 2015-16 stamp, will be held Sept. 19-20 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.

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