Postmaster Helps Keep Light Shining at Historic Boston Lighthouse

Paul-Medina_story-photo_1When USPS dedicates the New England Coastal Lighthouse Forever® stamps this Saturday (July 13), no one will be happier than New Ipswich, New Hampshire, Postmaster Paul Medina.

“In 2005,” said Medina, “I wrote a letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee specifically requesting the Boston Light stamp.” The stamp now is part of the new collection.

Situated on Little Brewster Island, the reassuring lens atop the 102-foot-tall, white lighthouse tower has guided ships through the perilous waters of Boston Harbor’s south channel for 297 years.

Designated a National Historic Landmark, Boston Light holds the distinction of being, by law, the only U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer-manned lighthouse remaining in the U.S. However, since 2003, the duty has been assumed by a civilian Coast Guard Keeper with support from U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary officers.

“Boston Light is the oldest light station in North America,” says Medina, who serves in the Auxillary. “It dates back to 1716.”

In 1776, the British destroyed the tower as they retreated from Boston. It was rebuilt in 1783.

Despite GPS devices and other technology that have made navigating the seas easier, Medina said they can’t replace the stalwart Boston Light. “Our light is burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

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Each of the five New England Coastal Lighthouses stamps features an original acrylic painting by Howard Koslow based on recent photographs of the lighthouses. In addition to many other stamp projects, Koslow has produced the art for the entire Lighthouses series: the five lighthouses in the 1990 stamp booklet; the Great Lakes Lighthouses stamps issued in 1995; the Southeastern Lighthouses stamps in 2003; the Pacific Lighthouses stamps in 2007; and the Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamps in 2009.

Fancy adding some of Howard Koslow’s work to your walls? Here’s your chance! Today we are giving away one Southeastern Lighthouses keepsake. Double-matted and suitable for framing, it featureHillsboro Inlet prizes a reproduction of the Hillsboro Inlet stamp artwork and a mounted strip of the five Southeastern Lighthouses stamps. All you have to do to enter to win is answer a simple question:

The Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was built under government contract in Detroit, Michigan, then erected and inspected prior to being shipped in parts to its present location near Pompano Beach, Florida. This octagonal, iron-skeleton tower was reassembled and activated in 1907. Its daymark—black on the top portion and white below—distinguishes it from lighthouses to the north and south. Its beam can be seen from a distance of more than 20 miles. In what year was the lighthouse fully automated?

To enter, send your answer, along with your name and address, to: USPS Stamps, 1300 Mercantile Ln, Ste 139C, Largo MD 20774.

Of those who answer correctly, one person will be randomly chosen to receive the Hillsboro Inlet keepsake. Entries must be postmarked by Tuesday, July 16. Good luck!

New Stamped Card May Show Key Deer

Deer

The Deer stamped card’s Forever® rate means that its postage will always be equal to the value of the First-Class Mail postcard rate in effect at the time of use, even if the rate increases after purchase. Click the image for details.

The delicate creature prancing across the new Deer stamped card is a bit of a mystery. Because it’s more fanciful than realistic, it’s hard to pin down exactly what type of deer it could be—but if Sherlock Homes were here, he might deduce that it’s a Key deer. Put on your (forgive the pun) deerstalker cap, and follow the trail of clues as we make the case.

  • Cattails: The rare and endangered Key deer is found only in the Florida Keys, where cattails, like the ones that surround the deer in the artwork, thrive in the state’s many wetlands.
  • Small size: Sometimes called “toy deer,” Key deer stand only about two feet high at the shoulder. Newborn fawns are tiny, weighing just two to four pounds. If the cattails in the artwork are growing close to the ground, they’d be the right height in comparison to a Key deer.
  • Tendency to travel: Just like a stamped card, which doesn’t even wait for a stamp to move around the country, Key deer get around. They swim between islands in the Florida Keys when they get the urge to move on.

If you’d like to see the enchanting Key deer in person, you can visit the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, about 30 miles north of Key West. This delicate animal is a subspecies of the much larger white-tailed deer, which is found throughout much of the United States.

Q + A With Deer Stamped Card Artist Cathie Bleck

Artist Cathie Bleck created the striking illustration featured on the 2013 Deer (Forever®) stamped card. We recently caught up with Bleck, who filled us in about her artistic process.

How did you first get involved with the Postal Service?

My first project was in 2007. I created the Pineapple stamped card working with art director Ethel Kessler.

Did you like working on the Deer stamped card? And what made it interesting to you?

It was not a favored subject at first foDeer-2013-Forever-envelope-TC-BGv1r the U.S. Postal Service as there was concern that people perceive deer to be pests. I have always loved the elegant prance of deer, however, and their posturing. When they are native to where you live, they become like an old friend peering through the woods. They are probably one of the most native animals to our country and resilient—coming back from low populations and then resurging. Beauty is a very powerful thing, however, so I persisted and the prance won over. How majestic the deer is, and how often we encounter her stance that lifts the spirit.

What was your inspiration for the art? (Did you look at lots of photographs of deer?) 

I rarely look at photos, usually I look inside my personal sketchbooks filled with flora and fauna and animals that I adore. I also love to look at other artists’ portrayals on the subject, especially the sculptor Paul Manship.

From start to finish, was it a fairly quick project?

I like to tell people each piece takes me 30 years of knowledge as a working artist in order to master the perfect line.

Do you enjoy illustrating wildlife?

It is my favorite subject, and developing a mythology around wild animals is even more intriguing to me.

The Deer Forever® stamped card was issued March 8, and it is available now online and in Post Offices around the country.

Seven Uncommon Surprises About the Common White-tailed Deer

Earlier this month, we issued a stamped card featuring a graphic of a golden deer. More than 40 species of deer are found around the world, and the white-tailed deer is the most common deer species in the United States. Here are a few other things you might not know about this graceful animal:

  • Deer-2013-Forever-envelope-TC-BGv1As many as 30 million white-tailed deer are estimated to live in the U.S., but the animals range as far north as Canada and as far south as Bolivia.
  • European settlers eventually hunted whitetails nearly to extinction, reducing a population of some 25 to 40 million down to 500,000 or fewer by the late 1800s. People on the frontier fashioned deerskins into jackets, clothing, and moccasins, and even traded the skins, known as buckskins, as a form of currency. As a result, a dollar bill is known as a “buck” to this day. With game management, the whitetail population eventually rebounded.
  • Excellent runners and swimmers, whitetails can exceed speeds of 30 miles per hour when fleeing a predator.
  • Some of the largest whitetails can be found in northern populations, where adult males can stand three feet high at the shoulder and weigh more than 300 pounds.

    First Day Cover

    The Deer stamped card was issued March 8, 2013, in Middleburg, Virginia. Mark the occasion with an official first day cover. Click the image for more details.

  • According to Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, female deer (does) will often leave their offspring (fawns) alone in the woods. But for a very good reason: “Frequently, well-meaning people find a fawn alone in the woods and bring it home without realizing that the doe was nearby all the time. To divert the attention of predators, female deer only visit their fawns three or four times a day, for about 15 minutes per visit, in order to feed them.”
  • Male deer’s antlers fall off in winter, providing an important source of calcium and minerals for small animals such as mice, squirrels, porcupines, and even the deer themselves, which seek out the antlers and gnaw on them.
  • Whitetails are named for the white undersides of their tails. When bounding away from danger, these deer raise their tails like a signaling flag, exposing the pale hair underneath.

If you’d like to learn more about the white-tailed deer, visit National Geographic.

The Deer Stamped Card is currently available in Post Offices and in our online store. Because it is a Forever® stamped card, its postage will always be equal to the value of the postcard rate in effect at the time of use, even if the rate increases after purchase. Why not stock up today?

Deer Stamped Card Prances Into Hearts & Mailboxes Today

Nature and animal lovers alike will be enamored with the new Deer Forever® stamped card, perfect for writing short personal notes, business communications, or just whatever strikes your fancy.

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U.S. Postal Service Northern Virginia District Marketing Manager Kimberley Timberlake dedicated the Forever stamped card earlier today at the Middleburg Post Office. “We think our customers will find these beautifully designed postcards perfect for sending quick notes to loved ones and friends,” said Timberlake. We think so, too!

If you missed the First Day of Issue Ceremony this morning, don’t worry. You can still obtain the official First Day of Issue postmark. Just purchase the new stamped cards at your local Post Office, online at usps.com/stamps, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. Address the stamped cards to yourself or others and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Deer Stamped Card
Postmaster
113 W. Washington Street
Middleburg, VA 20117-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, USPS will return the stamped cards through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark if requests are for less than 50. There is a 5-cent charge per postmark for orders exceeding 50. All orders must be postmarked by May 8.

The 37-cent stamped card (33-cent postage plus a 4-cent surcharge) is available as individual postcards or as a 74-cent double-reply product consisting of two stamped cards.