COLUMBUS, OH - The fifth annual Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Contest will feature Ohio's many native turtle species, found throughout the state in many different habitats, from woodlands to lakes to swamps.
"Turtles are some of the most recognizable animals in Ohio," said Scott Zody, chief of ODNR's Division of Wildlife. "Children especially enjoy viewing and identifying turtles in their native habitats. The Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp is a great way to bring positive attention to turtle conservation."
Native Ohio turtles include Blanding's turtle, eastern box turtle, eastern musk turtle, eastern spiny softshell turtle, midland painted turtle, midland smooth softshell turtle, Northern map turtle, Ouachita map turtle, snapping turtle and spotted turtle.
Sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp benefits the Wildlife Diversity Fund, which is used to protect and manage many wild animals and their habitats. Conservation is important for some Ohio turtle species. The spotted turtle is listed as a threatened species in the state, which means the species may become endangered under continued or increased stress. The eastern box turtle and Ouchita map turtle are species of concern, which means those species might become threatened in Ohio.
The 2014 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp will feature one winning photo submission of any native turtle. Entries will be accepted Aug. 5-16, 2013, and the photographer with the winning image will receive $500. The selection of the winning photo will be made by Aug. 30, 2013. The contest is open to Ohioans age 18 years and older. However, budding photographers age 17 and younger will be able to compete in the youth division. For complete contest rules, visit wildohiostamp.com.
Last year's contest consisted of 114 images submitted by 58 photographers. Bruce DiVaccaro of Sheffield Village submitted the winning photo of a black-capped chickadee after taking the photo in his Lorain County backyard. The 2013 Wildlife Legacy Stamp will be available for purchase on March 1.
The inaugural Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp featured a Baltimore oriole and went on sale March 1, 2010. Subsequent stamps featured an eastern amberwing and a spotted salamander. Over the past 3½ years, the program has raised more than $84,000. The collectible stamp and its companion photo contest are part of an innovative program intended to raise awareness and support for wildlife diversity.
It is important to note $14 out of every $15 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp sold is invested in Ohio's Wildlife Diversity Fund. The fund supports habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements, wildlife and habitat research projects, creation of wildlife educational materials, as well as efforts to restore and conserve endangered and threatened species.
Promotion and sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp has been a grassroots effort and has been successful thanks to the dedication of conservation groups across Ohio. Stamp collectors and conservationists will be able to purchase the 2010, 2011 and 2012 stamps for a limited time.
More information about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and other wildlife-related topics can be found at wildohio.com.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at www.ohiodnr.com