tools & tips

getting started

The Bow Seat team is available to you throughout the Competition period for questions, brainstorming, and guidance. Get in touch with us at

On these pages, you will find some resources to help you get started on your campaign: educational materials for learning more about marine debris; tools and tips for implementing a campaign; and inspiration to get your creative juices flowing!

implementing an advocacy campaign

We’ve compiled some resources to help you navigate the process of developing an advocacy campaign, including ways to agree on project decisions with your group members, organize tasks and deadlines, write a persuasive letter, and raise money for your project.

Helpful Advice for Implementing an Advocacy Campaign

Sample Brainstorming Worksheets

Sample Letters

Fundraising Tips

creating a video

As part of your project, you’ll be creating and submitting a 3-5 minute video that tells the story of your/your group’s advocacy campaign from beginning to end. This video does not count as a project or campaign; rather, it should illustrate your process. We’ll be sharing these videos to educate others about marine debris issues and to inspire them to become a part of the solution in their communities.

Your video should provide answers to some key questions about your campaign, including:

  • What were the goals of your marine debris advocacy campaign?
  • How did you accomplish these goals?
  • What activities did you carry out as part of your campaign?
  • What challenges did you face as you developed your campaign and how did you address them?
  • What is the message about marine debris that you would like viewers of your video to take away (what is your call-to-action)?

Never created a video before? Don’t panic! We don’t expect you to become professional filmmakers. Your emphasis should be on content. Simple and straightforward videos can be very effective. Below are some helpful tips and links to get you started:

Tip 1: Gather video footage to document your campaign’s progress every step of the way!

The simplest way to gather footage and upload it to a computer for editing is to use a digital camera with an SD memory card. See if you can borrow a camera to use for the duration of your campaign. If that’s not possible, you can also easily shoot footage with your Android or Apple device. Transfer your footage to a computer until you are ready to edit it into your final video.

Can’t shoot all of the video footage you need? There are websites that provide video clips that are copyright-free.

5 Websites to Find Creative Common Videos >
Using Copyright/Royalty-Free Images, Video & Music in Your Film >

Tip 2: Make sure you capture enough content to feature in your video.

You may be asking yourself: “What type of footage should I be shooting? How much footage do I need?” Shoot footage of meetings with your Sponsor, interviews with key partners or community members, activities in the community, background scenes, and images (for example, to illustrate a marine debris problem) to use with voiceover – so you can explain the project as a narrator. It’s OK to have too much footage! You will be editing it down into a 3-5 minute video at the end of your campaign.

Tip 3: Transfer your unedited video footage to a computer for editing.

Tip 4: Ready to edit your clips into a 3-5 minute video? Here are some helpful links to get you started:

Tip 5: Almost there! Once you’re ready to finalize and share your video, make sure you have:

  1. Credited all of the informational sources, images, video clips, music, and people used to create your video
  2. Uploaded your video to YouTube or Vimeo and named it using this format: 2018 Bow Seat Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition - Project Title

Tip 6: YouTube and Vimeo videos are great sources of information!

Don’t be afraid to search for additional tools, tips, and examples of short informational videos. You may also want to recruit a team member or Sponsor who has had some experience with simple video editing to help get you started.

Good luck and have fun – we’re excited to view your final videos! They will not be evaluated by their technical quality; rather, we will consider their artistic voice and students’ passion in advocating for behavior change to address the marine debris problem. If you need help during any part of the video creation process, don’t hesitate to contact Bow Seat at:


conducting a safe and environmentally-friendly cleanup

When cleaning up your neighborhoods or beaches, it’s important to do so in a way that is not harmful to yourself or the environment. Follow these safety protocols if a clean-up is part of your advocacy campaign: