The announcement was made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Rowan Gould at the annual art contest, held at the Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.V.
Miller’s acrylic painting of a pair of ruddy ducks emerged from a field of 186 entries, which was pared down to a final round of judging among 17 paintings.
Miller, who operates out of her Featherdust Studios, watched the online feed of the judging.
“It was extremely nerve-wracking,” she said. “Every year I feel as if getting past round one (there are a minimum of three rounds of judging) is a huge accomplishment. I could barely understand what I was seeing as my painting advanced through round one, then round two, made it into the top 20 then went on to tie for first place twice. My husband was running around making phone calls to let our family know, and I was stuck, shaking in front of the computer in disbelief. I’ve re-watched the video of the final round and when they announce my name my stomach still does flips, over a week later!”
Miller’s work will be transformed into the 2015-2016 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, more commonly known as the Duck Stamp, which goes on sale in late June 2015.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service produces the stamp, which sells for $15 and raises about $25 million each year to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the national wildlife refuge system.