our story

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs works to inspire the next generation of ocean caretakers through education and engagement with the arts, science, and advocacy.

The Bow Seat seed was born from a feeling of responsibility for our planet. It grew out of a deep concern for the health and future of our oceans and a desire to protect our seas.

In 2011, founder Linda Cabot and her daughters embarked on a journey in Maine to film a documentaryFrom The Bow Seat—about environmental issues impacting the Gulf of Maine. The act of making a film and creating artwork made Linda and her daughters feel engaged and empowered in a way that went above and beyond reading about these issues in a book or hearing about them in a lecture.

Realizing the power of artwork and media to educate, inspire, and activate younger generations, Linda began to shape Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs into the organization it is today. She wanted young people to feel empowered through creation and imagination, and to become active stewards of the ocean that so inspires her and her family.

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs believes that students who learn by creating and making experience deeper learning and longer-lasting behavior change. The arts provide diverse and powerful opportunities for expression and communication of ideas. When students are asked to explore a topic, interpret its meaning, and create something—rather than just memorize facts and spit them back out—not only does learning become fun, it also becomes permanent.

about the contest

Launched in 2011, the Ocean Awareness Student Contest is an interdisciplinary competition that encourages students to think creatively about how humans’ actions impact the health of our oceans and coastal environments. Each year the Ocean Awareness Student Contest is open to eligible middle and high school students from around the world who may submit works in four categories: Art, Poetry, Prose, and Film.

The Ocean Awareness Student Contest has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to talented students since it began five years ago. The Contest—which received over 2,100 entries from 44 U.S. states and 67 countries in 2016—continues to grow each year, a result of the positive-feedback cycles inherent in a program focused on outreach, awareness, and creative education. We are confident that our ocean pollution education tools and programs, our arts outreach, and the Contest will spread the work of these amazing teens worldwide!

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts, USA.

Meet the Bow Seat Team & Contest Judges >