Give the Gift That Gives Back


With so many options to choose from, finding the right gift for that special someone can be stressful. But there’s a gift that almost anyone can appreciate, and that’s one that gives back to wildlife: the Federal Duck Stamp.

It’s one of the surest ways of conserving America’s nature. In fact, 98 cents of every dollar, or $14.70, of the proceeds of every Duck Stamp sold go to preserving wetlands via the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. It certainly beats another gift certificate, because it shows you know the Stamp’s recipient cares about conserving nature.

First issued in 1934 as a federal license to hunt migratory waterfowl, the Duck Stamp has raised over $800 million to buy and preserve wetland wildlife refuges. Duck Stamps also grant entry to national wildlife refuges that normally charge for admission. Bird watchers, conservationists, hunters, students or anyone with a taste for sustainability and conservation would appreciate a Federal Duck Stamp.



The 2011 Federal Duck Stamp was illustrated by Minnesota artist Joseph Hautman, his fourth time winning the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Credit: USFWS

In 2012, my favorite national wildlife refuge, Parker River in Massachusetts, purchased more than 4,600 acres of land, funded in part by federal Duck Stamp revenue. This new habitat will be restored and conserved, and is crucial for the continued success of wildlife that make the refuge their home.

In fact, hey, who says you can’t give yourself a Duck Stamp as a holiday present! You’ve earned it! You can frame it, put it in your wallet, who knows! The possibilities are truly endless—it’s like having a miniature work of art in your pocket. Plus, as you may have heard, it helps conserve our invaluable wildlife. Did I mention that already? And, if you’re of the stamp collecting persuasion, Duck Stamps are an essential addition to any collection.


Ducks aren’t the only wildlife that benefits from the increased habitat, of course. At the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, sandpipers enjoy the restored habitat that’s funded in part by the Duck Stamp. Credit: USFWS

And if you’re sending out holiday cards this season, do your part and use Save Vanishing Species stamps. Part of the proceeds from each stamp goes to Wildlife Without Borders, which funds grants for tigers, elephants, great apes, rhinos, gorillas, chimpanzees, sea turtles… the list goes on. Plus, when your family and friends see the stamp, it’ll spread awareness about the campaign and the importance of supporting conservation efforts worldwide.



The contest is the only federally legislated art competition in the country, judged by a panel that includes authorities on artwork, waterfowl and philately (which, of course, is the study of stamps, but everyone knows that). Credit: USFWS


The Save Vanishing Species stamp was launched in 2011 with the goal of stamping out extinction—get it? Americans everywhere showed their support for wildlife conservation when, after a year, more than 16.5 million stamps were purchased, raising $1.7 million for wildlife conservation.

So, when you’re selecting holiday gifts this season, and know a hunter, stamp collector or anybody interested in conservation—which is just about anybody with a head on their shoulders—a Duck Stamp might be that thoughtful gift you were looking for.

Originally published on Conserving the Nature of the Northeast.