Ariah Lowell, 12, is a passionate, accomplished artist who loves birds and animals. Rebekah Lowell photo

A young birder’s impressive finish in the National Youth Duck Stamp competition is but one example of her deep love of nature.

Ariah Lowell, 12, of Biddeford, has been drawing since she was 2. Her passion for animals, she said, stretches back as far as she can remember.

“I draw almost every day,” she said. “Usually I take a photo of what I see in nature, and then I go in a room and paint it. I like to draw plants, flowers and mostly birds.” 

Ariah Lowell’s oil painting of a harlequin duck won third place in the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. Rebekah Lowell photo

More than 400 Maine students took part in the duck stamp contest – and nearly 9,000 students across the nation – according to Maine Audubon, which coordinates the program in Maine with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Ariah’s oil painting, which she composed using a photograph of a harlequin duck she took in Ogunquit, won Best in Show in Maine and placed third in the national competition in the same category. 

“I don’t really know what job I want to do (when I’m older), but I always will be an artist, even if I have another job,’ Ariah said.


Her mother, Rebekah Lowell, and sister, Elektrah, 14, also have placed in the state duck stamp competition. This year, Elektrah Lowell took first place in the junior contest in her age group – grades 7 to 9. The two girls are homeschooled by their mom and all three bird together. 

They started birding more frequently two years ago after joining the Maine Young Birders Club. But even on her own, Ariah is content sketching plants and birds around home. A year ago she started keeping a nature journal – a hobby that quickly evolved into four journals.

After winning national honors for her art, she said she wanted to be recognized more for her love of animals than her artistic talent.

“I’d like people to know that we have seven chickens and four cats. And we’re hatching three eggs now,” she said.

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