Have you ever been upset to see plastic bags, cigarettes butts, and candy wrappers littering your favorite beach or park? Do you wish your school provided recycling bins for single-use water bottles? Or maybe you’d prefer that your friends didn’t use single-use water bottles at all!
If you care about marine debris issues and want to make a difference in your community, we invite you and other middle and high school students from the United States to participate in the Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition! Enter individually or rally a group to work together. There is no fee to enter the Competition.
We challenge you to design and lead a creative advocacy campaign in your school or community.
Your campaign should meet the Competition goals of:
- Educating the public about marine debris
- Inspiring people to change their behavior
- Engaging others in an activity that reduces or prevents marine debris
This Competition is made possible by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, which supports projects that use outreach and education to inspire people to reduce and prevent marine debris. These projects aim to change behavior, especially among youth, and to provide them with opportunities to engage in active, hands-on experiences that deepen their understanding of the marine debris problem.
Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs is proud to offer scholarship awards of up to $5,000 to students and student groups whose campaigns most effectively raise awareness of and address the marine debris problem through creativity, community engagement, and activism.
Winners will be announced in Fall 2018. Students are free to use their awards however they choose, but they are encouraged to use their awards for continued study or development of their advocacy campaigns.
To recognize participants’ commitments and efforts to make a difference in their communities, every student will receive a Certificate of Participation acknowledging their contribution to this NOAA-sponsored Competition.
What is Marine Debris?
Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes. Our oceans, lakes, and rivers are filled with items that do not belong there – plastic bags, soda cans, tires, abandoned fishing gear, and other foreign objects – that threaten marine life, our environment, the economy, and human health.
Most importantly, marine debris is preventable. This is where you come in!
“We have to spread the word. We have to show the world what we’ve done. We have to make changes. We have to be the change.”
What is “Creative Advocacy”?
Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions and change behavior. At Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, we believe in the power of the creative arts to raise awareness of the marine debris problem in ways that inspire the public to take action. Access to facts, while important, does not alone inspire long-term, measurable behavior change. The creative expression of information through the arts is a powerful tool that taps into human emotions and speaks to personal beliefs, which is necessary to drive a widespread cultural shift away from our “throwaway culture” and toward one that values the health of our oceans.
We encourage you to use the creative arts whenever possible throughout your campaign to educate your audience about reducing litter and marine debris. Consider how an informational brochure or poster, innovative media, or other art campaign can play an important role in meeting the goals of your campaign.
- Ignite your passion for the environment by combining creativity + hands-on learning
- Make a real change in your school or community
- Increase your self-confidence
- Build skills: leadership, critical thinking, project management, communications, and teamwork, and more!
- Join the rising wave of youth activism for our oceans
Your primary responsibility as a sponsor is to provide your student or student group with advice and support throughout their advocacy campaign and to serve as an additional point of contact for the Bow Seat team.
When your students register for the Competition, they will be asked to provide your name and email address. You will receive an email prompting you to sign an electronic Sponsor Letter of Commitment. This Letter is necessary for the students’ registration to be approved.
From then on, you will be included in all emails that Bow Seat sends out regarding the Competition.
You should also familiarize yourself with the Rules & Requirements for participating in the Competition, as well as the Final Project Report Checklist of the information and supporting materials needed for submission. Additionally, we hope you will remind your students to complete the required Pre- and Post-Participation Surveys, which will be made available to the students after their registration has been approved and after their Final Project Report Checklist has been submitted, respectively. This Competition involves many components, and your help in keeping your students organized and on track will be essential to their success!
If for any reason you are unable to fulfill your commitment as a sponsor, we expect that you will help your students find a replacement. In the unlikely event this should happen, please alert the Bow Seat team as soon as possible. The new sponsor will need to submit a new Letter of Commitment.
In addition, we have compiled some resources to help you and your students get started on their campaign, including resources for teaching about marine debris, tools and tips for implementing an advocacy campaign, and inspiration to get students’ creative juices flowing!
Sponsor Appreciation Awards
Bow Seat grants Sponsor Appreciation Awards of $750 to sponsors who help change the lives of their students and change the world for the better! These awards are nomination-based, and the form will be emailed to your students upon completion of their project.
- The 2018 Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition began on September 18, 2017 at 12:01 AM Eastern Time (ET) and closes on June 18, 2018, 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET). The online submission platform will close automatically at the Competition deadline. Please plan accordingly!
Who May Enter
- The Competition is open to middle and high school students in the United States, District of Columbia, and U.S. territories who are in grades 6-12 (or the homeschool equivalent) during the 2017-2018 academic year. Eligible students enrolled in U.S.-accredited schools abroad may also participate.
- Students under the age of 13 must have documented permission from a parent or legal guardian to enter the Competition. This consent will be provided by a signed Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Privacy Notice form that will be required as part of the registration process.
- Entries may be submitted by an individual or by a group of unlimited size. Groups must select one group leader to serve as the primary contact, and all group members must be named in the Final Project Report. Awards will be distributed evenly among all group members.
- A student may submit (i.e., have his/her name included on) only one entry in the Advocacy Competition. However, that student may submit original art, poetry, prose, film and/or music to Bow Seat’s other program: the 2018 Ocean Awareness Student Contest, including works that are used as part of his/her advocacy campaign. All entries to the Ocean Awareness Student Contest must be the student’s original work.
How to Enter
- There is no fee to enter the Competition.
- Students must select an adult to be their sponsor for the Competition. This sponsor may be a teacher, community member, local business owner, etc., but may not be their parent.
- Students and groups interested in participating in the Competition must create an account and register through our online system. During this step, students will provide basic contact information, briefly describe their campaign ideas, and request a sponsor letter of commitment. (Students under the age of 13 must also upload a Bow Seat COPPA form.)
- Registration must be approved before moving forward in the Competition. Registrations are evaluated and approved on a rolling basis; students and their sponsor will receive an email regarding their registration status within one week of submission.
- Upon approval of their registration, students will be emailed a link to access their online Project Report. Final Project Reports and supporting materials must be submitted through our online system by June 18, 2018, 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) in order to be considered for the 2018 Competition.
- All activities detailed in the Final Project Report must be developed or take place during the 2017-2018 academic school year. We understand that the entire campaign may not be completed by the Competition deadline.
- Only complete Project Reports will be considered for the Competition. Consult the Final Project Report checklist to keep track of the information and supporting materials needed for submission.
- Each student must complete the required Pre- and Post-Participation Surveys, which will be made available after the student’s registration has been approved and after the Final Project Report has been submitted, respectively. These surveys are intended to gauge participants’ environmental awareness and attitudes, which will inform Bow Seat’s program evaluation and development. The surveys are in no way tied to the judging process.
- The supporting video that is required as part of the Final Project Report must comply with the following requirements:
- Be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and named: 2018 Bow Seat Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition-Project Title
- Be 3-5 minutes in length (end credits, if applicable, do not count towards this time limit)
- Include an overview of the marine debris problem; campaign goals, audiences, activities, challenges, and accomplishments; and a call-to-action
- Credit all sources used to create the video in the end credits
- Additional supporting materials for the Final Project Report must be submitted as one of the following file types: Word, PDF, JPG, or PNG. These supporting materials should be named in the following manner:
- Campaign Artifacts:
Artifact-Student First Name-Student Last Name-1, Artifact-Student First Name-Student Last Name-2, Artifact-Student First Name-Student Last Name-3, etc.
- Works Cited:
Works Cited-Student First Name-Student Last Name
- Campaign Artifacts:
- Judging begins immediately after the Competition closes. Decisions of the judges are final.
- Submissions will be evaluated based on the quality and thoughtfulness of the Final Project Report, how well the campaign addressed the Competition’s goals, and how effectively students integrated the creative arts into their campaigns. The required supporting video will not be evaluated by its technical quality; rather, judges will consider its artistic voice and students’ passion in advocating for behavior change to address the marine debris problem.
- Due to regulations governing NOAA’s Federal grant, we are unable to award submissions that include any lobbying activities. If you are unsure if your activities qualify as lobbying, please contact us.
- Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorable Mention winners will be selected. Students are free to use their awards however they choose, but they are encouraged to use their awards for continued study or development of their advocacy campaigns.
- Winners and their sponsors will be notified via email before they are publicly announced on Bow Seat’s website in Fall 2018.
- Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs reserves the right to use students’ work for marketing and promotional purposes in any and all media.
- Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs promises to administer this Competition fairly, ethically, and with integrity.