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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has appointed Vaughn T. Collins as the Chief of the Federal Duck Stamp Office, according to Assistant Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs, Tom Melius.

"The Service is happy to have Mr. Collins," Melius said. "His experience in intergovernmental programs, economics and rural development will be a great asset to the Federal Duck Stamp Program."

Mr. Collins will be responsible for overseeing the annual Federal Duck Stamp Contest, issuing the Federal Duck Stamp and coordinating the Junior Duck Stamp program. "I intend to expand the Junior Duck Stamp Program, which prepares young conservationists for the future, and increase the sales of Duck Stamps among hunters and conservationists, which translates to more revenues for the National Wildlife Refuge System," said Mr. Collins.

Prior to joining the Fish and Wildlife Service, Mr. Collins was the Deputy Director of the National Rural Development Partnership located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The partnership is an intergovernmental program that helps rural communities address critical social and economic issues. Before moving to the Washington, DC area, Mr. Collins was Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development in Montpelier, Vermont, a member of the National Rural Development Partnership.

Mr. Collins was born and grew up in central Massachusetts. He received a Bachelors degree in Resource Economics from the University of Massachusetts, then worked in the field of community development for 10 years. He then earned a Masters degree in Applied Economics from the University of Vermont. He is also a graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute, a statewide program affiliated with the University of Vermont.

Mr. Collins now lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife Laura Fall. He is an avid outdoors man and particularly enjoys training the family's Labrador retriever.

The Duck Stamp program was created with the passage of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act. Under this Act, all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older must annually purchase and carry a Federal Duck Stamp. Proceeds from the sale of stamps goes to purchase and conserve migratory bird habitat. Since the passage of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, about $600 million has been raised and over 6 million acres of critical bird habitat has been conserved. Approximately 98 cents of every Duck Stamp dollar is used to purchase bird habitat, which makes the Federal Duck Stamp program on of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated.

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