Have you ever been upset to see plastic bags, cigarettes butts, and straws 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 around the world to participate in the Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition! Enter individually or rally a group to work together.
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
- Advocating creative and realistic solutions for the marine debris issue you identify
Who May Enter
- Young people ages 11-18
- Individuals or classes, clubs, or groups of any size
- Open to international students
- 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, entrepreneurship, and teamwork, and more!
- Join the rising wave of youth activism for our oceans
- Earn scholarship awards
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 of the 2019 Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition will be announced in Fall 2019. 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 Competition.
This Competition launched in 2016 with support from 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.
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. 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 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.
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 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!
EDUCATOR INNOVATION AWARDS
If you are a teacher who uses the Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition in your classroom, we want to hear from you! Bow Seat grants nomination-based Educator Innovation Awards of $750 to acknowledge the efforts of individuals who are teaching students about ocean issues and empowering them to be stewards of our blue planet, while meeting important educational standards. Learn more & apply >
2019 Competition results will be announced publicly in September 2019.
Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:
- How well the project aligns with the goals of the Competition
- Demonstration of issue knowledge
- Educational and engaging use of creative media
- Thoughtfulness of approach (e.g., originality, relevance to local needs, use of multi-dimensional tactics and/or partnerships, solutions-oriented mindset)
- Project impacts, especially related to educating, inspiring, and engaging the public in reducing or preventing marine debris
- Quality and clarity of the Final Project Report and supporting video (the 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)
- Meeting the Competition submission requirements
- The 2019 Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition deadline is June 17, 2019, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET). The online submission platform will close automatically at the Competition deadline. Please plan accordingly!
Who May Enter
- This is an international Competition and is open to middle and high school students worldwide who are ages 11-18 before the Competition deadline June 17, 2019. Proof of age, identity, or eligibility may be required.
- 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 Consent 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 Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition. However, that student may submit original art, poetry, prose, film, and/or music to Bow Seat’s 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest, including works that are used as part of his/her advocacy campaign. All entries to the Ocean Awareness 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, parent/guardian, etc.
- 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, request a sponsor letter of commitment, and provide parent/guardian consent (if necessary).
- Registrations 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 Final Project Report. Final Project Reports and supporting materials must be submitted through our online system by June 17, 2019, 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) in order to be considered for the 2019 Competition.
- All activities detailed in the Final Project Report must be developed or take place during the 2018-2019 academic school year. We understand that the entire campaign may not be completed by the Competition deadline.
- Only complete Final 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.
- All submissions – including the Final Project Report, video, and supporting materials – must be in English, or English translations must be provided.
- 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 meet the following requirements:
- Be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and named: “2019 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.
- Judging begins immediately after the Competition closes. Decisions of the judges are final.
- Submissions will be evaluated based on how well the project aligns with the Competition goals; demonstrates issue knowledge; uses educational and engaging creative media; is thoughtful in its approach; and results in measurable impacts. The quality and clarity of the Final Project Report and supporting video will also be considered (the 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).
- 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 them 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 2019.
- 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.
- Winners will be required to verify their eligibility by completing, signing, and returning an Affidavit of Eligibility/Liability Release, and, where lawful, a Publicity Release within ten (10) business days of attempted notification. Winners under 18 years of age must have their parents/legal guardians sign and complete the Affidavit of Eligibility/Liability Release and, where lawful, the Publicity Release on their behalf.