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Kenmare art students among 31 winners in the ND Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Young artists from across northwestern North Dakota made themselves known at the state’s Junior Duck Stamp Contest judging held March 21st at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge.

4/03/13 (Wed)

Xylis Holter, Redhead, 1st Place Grades K-3


By Caroline Downs

Young artists from across northwestern North Dakota made themselves known at the state’s Junior Duck Stamp Contest judging held March 21st at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge.

Of the 1,075 entries in the contest for students in grades kindergarten through 12, more than a third of the pictures were created by youth who worked with Jane Kalmbach of Dakota Blessings Art Studio, Kenmare.

And of the 371 entries from Kalmbach’s students, 31 were selected by contest judges among the winners chosen in four age categories.

Kalmbach was delighted with the outcome.

“I am very pleased with all my students for participating, and proud of those who placed in the contest,” she said about working with students from seven school districts and 12 communities, “especially those who entered for the first time and placed. They represented western ND well!”

Ashton Engh, Mallard, 2nd Place Grades K-3


Haley Standard, Bufflehead, 3rd Place Grades K-3

Six Kenmare artists were among the winners selected for first, second, and third place honors in each age division. Xylis Holter, a third grader, won one of three first place ribbons in the Grade K-3 division for his redhead duck.

“Jane suggested I draw that one,” he said. “This was the first year I entered.”

Another third grader, Ashton Engh, claimed one of the second place ribbons in the K-3 division with a mallard in his first attempt at the contest.

“It was pretty hard to do,” he said, “but my classroom friends said it looked real.”

Second grader Haley Standard earned a third place ribbon in the K-3 division for her first-ever entry, a bufflehead she drew with colored pencils. “I used watercolor pencils for the background and normal colored pencils for the duck,” she said. “I thought it would be awesome if I would win something because my [older] sister wins a lot for her art, so I tried to draw my best.”

Standard was excited about the results of her picture and had plans for next year’s contest already. “I’m going to do the Northern Shoveler,” she said. “I like their giant beaks!”

Seventh graders Kirsten Medlang and Shelby Brekhus took two of the three third place ribbons given in the Grade 7-9 division. Both girls have entered before with Kalmbach, and Medlang earned an honorable mention award in the past. The friends were thrilled they placed this year.

Medlang drew a pintail drake for her entry. “I liked the colors and design on the feathers,” she said.

Brekhus’s picture featured a hooded merganser. “It has a cool head,” she said, referring to the raised black feathers.

The girls agreed they would enter again next year, choosing different ducks to draw.

McKayla Neubauer earned a second place award in the 7-9 division. She received an honorable mention and a third place ribbon in previous contests and has entered for four years now.

Neubauer, an eighth grader, drew a fulvous whistling duck for her 2013 entry, using pastel chalks for the background and colored pencil for most of the duck itself. “I liked the detail it had on its beak and its wings,” she said about her choice of waterfowl, “and it was fun to blend the colors together.”

She also chooses a different duck to draw each time. “I’ll keep on entering the contest, to see how much better I get,” she said, adding that her preferred art mediums continue to be pastels and colored pencils.

McKayla Neubauer, Fulvous Whistling Duck, 2nd Place Grades 7-9


Kalmbach combines art
and conservation lessons

Kalmbach provided those pastels, watercolor pencils, regular colored pencils and watercolor paper for students to use during sessions she offered. “Most students used a new wet pastel method I taught them,” she said. “They did their detail work with color pencil, using burnishing techniques and new colorless blenders.”

Through an arrangement with the school districts and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she held classes at schools in Berthold, Sherwood, Powers Lake, Tioga and Bowbells, as well as Kenmare. She was also able to enter pictures created by North Dakota students enrolled in school at Fairview, Montana.

 “I worked with kids in kindergarten through the 12th grade,” she said, “but the majority of my students were in sixth grade or under. I also held a class at the Taube Museum in Minot and for a Girl Scout troop in Forman, North Dakota.”

Now in her fourth year with the Junior Duck Stamp contest, Kalmbach maintains the program’s goals of introducing the students to different species of waterfowl, various types of wetland habitat and general ideas of conservation practices.

“This is a great contest for youth,” she said. “It encourages them to go out and explore nature, it helps them understand the importance of refuge systems and why we should work to conserve habitat and wetlands. For many, it is an opportunity to create an art piece they might not otherwise do.”

She emphasized the contest is offered at no charge to students. “If they place, they get a fun family weekend in Bismarck,” she added, “and the honor of having their artwork travel the state for the next year!”

Kirsten Medlang, Pintail, 3rd Place Grades 7-9

Winners from across
the northwest region
Winners who prepared their entries with Dakota Blessings Art Studio and received first, second and third place awards in the four age groups include:

1st Place - Grade K-3 - Xylis Holter, Donnybrook;

1st Place - Grade 4-6 - Jayce Rau, Cartwright, and Fischer Ackerson, Sherwood;

2nd Place - Grade K-3 - Ashton Engh, Tolley;

2nd Place - Grade 7-9 - McKayla Neubauer, Kenmare;

3rd Place - Grade K-3 - Haley Standard, Kenmare;

3rd Place - Grade 4-6 - Noah Christman, Berthold;

3rd Place - Grade 7-9 - Kirsten Medlang and Shelby Brekhus, both of Kenmare;

Dakota Blessings Art Studio students who received Honorable Mention in the contest include:

Grade K-3 - Andrew King and Taylor Schindele of Donnybrook, Michelle Schlosser of Tolley, and Sheldon Skar, Kaedyn Neubauer, Lindsey Ware and Kendra Stroklund, all of Kenmare;

Grades 4-6 - Sophie Lind of Mandan, Elijah Ellingson of Sherwood, Kiely Mogren of Kenmare and Thomas Burke of Berthold;

Grades 7-9 - Kendra Brekhus, Sierra Overton, Trey Balvitsch and Paul Holter, all of Kenmare, Grace Burke of Berthold, Jordanna Goldade and Jessica Rosencrans of Powers Lake, Sadie Maruskie of Battleview, Kristina Meyer of Ray, and Madison Tiedman and Hannah Tiedman of Minot.

The 2013 “Best of Show” award went to Destiny Winkler, 18, of Valley City for an entry featuring the greater white-fronted goose. Mayce Brodehl of Newburg, age 13, received Best of Show Runner-Up honors for an acrylic painting of a drake canvasback.

Winkler’s entry will compete at the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest later this year. The top picture selected at that event will be made into a Junior Duck Stamp sold for $5 across the nation, with proceeds from the stamps supporting conservation education programs.


Shelby Brekhus, Hooded Merganser, 3rd Place Grades 7-9

May 4th awards
banquet in Mandan
All first, second and third place winners will be honored at the North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Banquet scheduled for May 4th in Mandan. Kalmbach encouraged area winners to attend the event.

“I enjoy the banquet, to see all the amazing artwork,” she said. “That night, I hope to see all my students who placed!”

The winning artwork will be exhibited throughout the state at national wildlife refuge events, zoos, shopping malls and other locations during the year.

The display, featuring students who studied with Kalmbach, is scheduled for exhibit at Kenmare Public Schools May 6-10, Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge June 14th, the Burke County Fair in Flaxton June 15-16, Dakota Square Mall and the North Dakota State Fair July 18-30, the Mouse River Loop Envirothon at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge on September 24th, and the Kenmare GooseFest October 16-22.

Kalmbach reminded young artists and their parents that the Junior Duck Stamp contest is open to all students in grades kindergarten through 12. Entries for the next contest will be due by March 15, 2014.

“All rules and guidelines can be found at,” she said. “I am already looking forward to next year, and I hope to enter more students!”