Ocean Awareness
Student Contest

Our Oceans in
a Changing Climate

A Creative Challenge
for Students Worldwide

Climate change is the biggest issue of your lifetime. Your whole life will be lived as the impacts of global climate change are taking place. Our Contest is a call for young artists, thinkers, and activists who are concerned about the future of our human and natural communities to use their creative voices to explore, express, and advocate for issues related to climate change and our oceans.




Awards will be presented in each of the categories at both the Junior and Senior divisions:

Junior Division
Senior Division
Gold Award
Silver Award
Bronze Award
Honorable Mention
Recognition Awards

Additional Awards Available in 2018

Over the course of the Contest, other awards may become available and will be listed here. The winners of these awards will be chosen and announced at the same time as the category awards.

Making Waves Award
The Making Waves Award will be awarded to one submission in each age division that demonstrates a powerful, engaging, and original voice of ocean activism. Winners receive a $250 cash prize.



Students from around the world are invited to participate in the Ocean Awareness Student Contest. Enter the division based on your age:

  • Junior Division: Age 11-14 before the Contest deadline June 18, 2018
  • Senior Division: Age 15-18 before the Contest deadline June 18, 2018

Submission Categories













The written reflection helps your audience and the judges understand more about you, your work, and the issue you are addressing. It is like the introduction to a book, or an artist’s statement in a museum. The judges will not lower your score for a poorly written reflection, but writing a thoughtful and personal reflection will certainly help the judges understand you and your work better, and you will likely do better in the Contest!

But why do I have to write about my work, instead of letting my work speak for itself?

It’s important to practice talking about your work because it is one of the hardest but most fundamental skills of being an advocate. People who see your work will likely want to ask questions that only you can answer—the reflection is kind of like an FAQ. Why did you do what you did? How did you create it? What inspired you? What have you learned through your exploration of climate change? Entice people who see your work to look longer, deeper, and most of all to think about the issue you are trying to address.

The arts have the power to start conversations, raise awareness, and inspire action by asking viewers to think not only logically or critically, but also emotionally. With this in mind, we invite you to reflect on the question: How does climate change make you feel?

Reflection Requirements

  • Length: 100-250 words
  • Your reflection should be written in English.
  • File Format: PDF or Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx)



We have many resources to help you get started on your submission, including tips and inspiration, resources for learning more about climate change impacts on our oceans, links to organizations working on climate change, and much more!

Sponsors & Teachers


Each individual or group who submits to the Ocean Awareness Student Contest must have an adult sponsor. Sponsors are usually teachers, parents, or mentors. We ask each student to have a sponsor so that if we have trouble getting in touch with a student, we have an alternative means of contact.

We think that one of the most important parts of ocean advocacy is building relationships and having conversations about ocean issues. Regardless of how closely sponsors do or do not work with students as they prepare their submissions, we encourage students and sponsors to use each other to practice talking about climate change and how the creative arts can make a meaningful difference in our world.

We also offer nomination-based Sponsor Recognition Awards of $750! Students, nominate your awesome sponsor by using this online form.

More information for Sponsors and Teachers >

Rules & Eligibility




Share the Contest