MADISON, WI - Sixteen-year-old Taylor Konczal has landed an important place in Wisconsin's conservation history and reeled in two big fish at the same time. The Stevens Point Area Senior High student won Wisconsin's first ever youth trout stamp contests and her designs will be featured on both the Inland and the Great Lakes stamps for 2018.
"It's our first youth contest and we're very pleased with Taylor's great designs," says Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "Anglers and others will love to add them to their collection."
Konczal, a junior this fall at SPASH, received a telephone call from Griffin notifying her of her winning entries while she was up north visiting with her cousins.
"They are all outdoorsmen and were impressed with the news!" she said. "I'm very thankful to win both (contests). "It's incredibly exciting."
While she has excelled at art since kindergarten, the trout stamp contests were the first formal art contests she's entered, according to parents, Mike and Tammy. Mike Konczal learned of the contests through business associates who had seen some of Taylor's previous work and recommended she enter. Her parents and art teachers encouraged her to enter as well.
Konczal, who fishes now and then with her brother Cade, 14, and with her parents, studied photos of Wisconsin inland and Great Lakes trout for inspiration and bounced her ideas off her family.
"I incorporated as much detail into the designs as I could," she said. "I hope when people look at my designs they can relate to them on some level or maybe be inspired to get outside and enjoy some of the great trout fishing opportunities Wisconsin has to offer."
Konczal is looking forward to taking additional advanced drawing and painting classes this fall and has considered using her skills as either a professional or as a freelance artist.
"I am not sure what the future holds, but I will definitely be spending more time on the water," she said.
Alex Synol of Gillett was runner-up in the Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp contest. The winning and runner-up designs are featured on the trout stamp contest page of the DNR website.
People who have purchased inland trout or Great Lakes trout stamp privileges with their current or previous year fishing license can obtain the actual collector stamp by requesting the stamp online or visiting a DNR Service Center during their scheduled counter service hours. People interested in the stamps for their collections, (not the fishing privileges), can order them by mail at the cost of the stamp(s) plus $3 for shipping and handling or purchase the stamps at a DNR Service Center.
More information is available on the Wildlife and Fish Collector Stamp page of the DNR website.
The youth trout stamp contest for students in grades 9-12 will next return for the 2020 stamp year. DNR plans to alternate the youth contest with its traditional stamp contests, which are open to artists 18 and older.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR