Winners of Student Art Contest Focused on Protection of Right Whales and Ocean Health Announced
April 16, 2019

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat) and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) have announced the winners of the Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge. This art contest invited K-12 students from the New England and Gulf of Maine regions in the U.S. and Canada to use their creative voices to highlight the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales and the need for conservation of marine ecosystems and resources.

More than 130 participants created visual art, poetry, and short films that celebrated the iconic right whales and drove action for their protection. Their submissions emphasized the beauty of the animals and called attention to the many threats they face, including ship strikes, entanglements, and pollution.

“North Atlantic right whales are in danger of becoming extinct within our lifetime,” said Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Director of Ocean Conservation at CLF. “The contest has been so important in raising awareness of this critical issue and creating a new generation of young advocates who will fight for the protection of right whales and our oceans.”

Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners who most effectively combined knowledge of the issue, creative expression, and persuasive activism were selected in each of three age divisions and received cash scholarships ranging from $50-$750 each. Honorable Mention winners each received a $25 gift card donated by the Blick Art Materials store located on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston.

To view, read, and watch all of the winners, go to bowseat.org/right-whales.

In addition to Bow Seat and CLF staff, several esteemed guests participated in the judging process: Brian Skerry, National Geographic photojournalist and Explorer-In-Residence at the New England Aquarium; David Abel, Boston Globe reporter; Dr. Moira Brown, right whale scientist at the Canadian Whale Institute; and Tripp Clemens, co-founder of Windy Films.

“It was truly an honor to be involved,” said Abel. “I’m blown away by the creativity, the beauty, and the seriousness of these works. Well done to all.”

Added Dr. Brown: “[The contest] will go a long way to fostering more ocean stewards.”

The Challenge winners and participants will be recognized on Sunday, May 5th, at an awards ceremony during the Right Whale Festival at the New England Aquarium. This community event will feature a student art exhibit, film screenings, presentations by youth conservation leaders, and a panel discussion moderated by Brian Skerry. In addition, the participants’ pieces will be an important part of an ongoing campaign to inspire awareness, care, and action for right whales and our ocean, which will include future events and art exhibitions.

“We were so impressed by the creative and compelling works of the Challenge participants,” said Alyssa Irizarry, executive director of Bow Seat. “Even more inspiring is that, after taking part in the contest, many students vowed to be ocean-conscious citizens by continuing to educate themselves on the issue; spreading awareness; and making changes in their daily actions, such as limiting their plastic use. Their commitment and compassion give us hope for the future of our blue planet.”

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About Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (bowseat.org): Bow Seat is a Boston-based nonprofit that activates the next wave of ocean leaders through the arts, science, and advocacy. For more than eight years, Bow Seat has encouraged youth to learn about and engage with environmental issues through art-making. Bow Seat provides a space for students to connect, create, and communicate for our blue planet through innovative programming that works at the intersection of ocean science and arts education. Nearly 10,000 teenagers representing 78 countries and all 50 U.S. states have participated in Bow Seat’s programs.

About Conservation Law Foundation (clf.org): CLF protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people, using the law, science, and the market to create solutions that preserve our natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy. CLF has taken action to protect right whales for decades, from successfully fighting oil and gas drilling within whales’ habitats, to ensuring offshore wind projects don’t cause harm, to taking on the federal government to protect whales from threats posed by commercial fishing gear.

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Winners of Student Art Contest Focused on Protection of Right Whales and Ocean Health Announced