The artwork of wildlife artist Gunner Hilliard won first place in the 2014 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp Design Competition, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Hilliard’s painting of northern shovelers will appear on the Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp issued in the fall of 2015.
The winning entry was selected from a field of 17 original paintings submitted by artists from nine states, including eight entries from Ohio. The competition was held on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Ohio Ducks Unlimited annual banquet in Licking County.
Last year’s winner, Adam Grimm, will see his painting of a northern pintail appear on the 2014 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp. Grimm is an Ohio native who now resides in South Dakota.
Gunner Hilliard of New Jersey has previously placed second in this competition. This year, second place honors went to Sam Timm of Wisconsin for his painting of an American widgeon. The third place entry was by Guy Crittenden of Virginia for his painting of a black duck.
Approximately 25,000 Ohio Wetland Habitat Stamps were purchased last year, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Proceeds from stamp sales help fund vital wetland habitat restoration projects in Ohio. Such habitats are important to many resident wildlife species including several that are state-endangered.
The judges for this year’s event included Chip Gross, Outdoor Writers of Ohio; Lori Stevenson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Julie Davis, Ohio Ornithological Society; Andy Jones, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and Bill Englefield, Ohio Ducks Unlimited.