While I personally would never advocate that bloggers like myself flog merchandise, I have to make an exception for a very valuable thing you should consider purchasing for your very own: a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.
This stamp, better known as the “Duck Stamp,” is an inexpensive way to support the conservation of bird habitat, validate your hunting permit, gain admission to U.S. National Wildlife Refuges, and collect beautiful artwork on stamps. (The full history of the Duck Stamp and its accomplishments in supporting conservation is well told by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in a recent story in Nature Conservancy magazine.)
Buying the stamp is a great way to spend $15. Why?
- If you hunt waterfowl, you need one to validate your federal hunting permit.
- If you visit National Wildlife Refuges, it will get you in for free (though, truth be told, not all refuges charge an admission fee).
- However, the best reason is that every dollar of your purchase goes directly into supporting new land acquisition in the National Wildlife Refuge system.
Some of the well-known refuges in the country whose acquisition has been fully or largely supported by Duck Stamp funds include:
- Sacramento (California)
- Monte Vista (Colorado)
- Bombay Hook (Delaware)
- Quivira (Kansas)
- Parker River (Massachusetts)
- Edwin B. Forsythe (New Jersey)
- Bosque del Apache (New Mexico)
- Montezuma (New York)
- Pea Island (North Carolina)
- Chase Lake (North Dakota)
- Laguna Atascosa (Texas), and
- Horicon (Wisconsin)
Without the funds from Duck Stamp purchases, we would have fewer places to go birding, hiking, and otherwise enjoy nature and the spectacle of migratory birds.
Duck Stamps are easy to obtain. If your local post office or sporting goods store does not sell them, they are available via this link or through the U.S. Postal Service. The stamps are valid for one year from July 1 until June 30 of the following year.
What are you waiting for?
(Image: 2009-2010 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. Credit: U.S. Department of the Interior.)