Use our website to find resources and inspiration (below). Do research on your own, ask tough and complex questions, think about the way science and society helps you interpret the theme, and start building your case for ocean advocacy.
Interpret the theme to create your own work of art, writing, poetry, or film that advocates for ocean stewardship. Make sure you've met all the requirements for your category (see "categories" below).
To enter the contest, submit both your work and reflection. Entries are due by June 13, 2016, at 11:59pm EST.
- Middle School
6th-8th grade, or International or Homeschool Equivalent
- High School
9th-12th grade, or International Equivalent
- An Individual
This means that you are the sole creator of your submission
- A Group
Groups can be of unlimited size, but you must provide the names of each group member. There will be one group leader who will be the contact person for the group, and prizes will be awarded to the group as a whole
All visual interpretations of the prompt are welcome in this category — painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, textile, photography, and much more are all welcome.
All pieces of written and spoken poetry which interpret the prompt are acceptable in this category, whether just a single poem or a collection.
All forms of written interpretations of the prompt except poetry are acceptable in this category. Feel free to write fiction, non-fiction, personal memoirs, analytical essays, nature writing, political advocacy, op-eds or news articles, or any other form of prose.
All types of cinematic interpretations of the prompt are acceptable in this category, from advocacy films to PSAs to short films to newscasts to educational videos and much more.
The Reflection helps your audience and the judges understand more about you, your work, and the issue you address. It is like the introduction to a book, or an artists’ statement in a museum. The judges will not lower your score for a poorly written reflection, but writing a good 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 let the work speak for itself?
It’s important to practice talking about your work because it’s 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 meaning have you made out of your exploration of ocean pollution? Entice people who see your work to look longer, deeper, and most of all to think about the issue you are trying to address.
- Length: 250 words or less
- File Format: PDF or MS Word
- Here is a helpful article for getting started on your reflection:
"Your Artist Statement: Explaining the Unexplainable"
sponsors and teachers
Each Individual or Group who submits to the contest must have one or more adult sponsors. Usually, sponsors are teachers, a parent, or a mentor. We ask each student to have a sponsor so that if we have trouble getting into touch with a student, we have a backup means to contacting them.
Plus, we think that one of the most important parts of ocean advocacy is building relationships and actually having conversations about ocean issues. Regardless of how closely the sponsor does or does not work with the student as they prepare their submission, we encourage students and sponsors to use each other to practice talking about ocean pollution and how art, poetry, prose, or film can make a meaningful difference in our world.
We also offer Sponsor Recognition Awards! These awards are nomination-based. Students, nominate your awesome sponsor by completeing the online form or writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why your sponsor is amazing! Nomination letters should be 250 words or less.
Prizes will be awarded in each of the four categories at both middle school and high school levels:
Additional Prizes Available in 2016
Over the course of the contest, other prizes may become available such as random drawings for scholarships, ability to display pieces in public spaces such as museums or aquariums. Additional prizes will be listed here as they become available, but the winners of these prizes will be chosen and announced at the same time as the category prizes.
From the Bow Seat Advocacy Prize
Because the contest is meant to inspire the next generation of ocean advocates, we are offering one prize in each age division that demonstrates a powerful, moving, engaging, and original voice of ocean advocacy. The Middle School and High School winner will each receive a $250 cash prize, and an equal amount will be donated to an organization of their choice in their name.
Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Prize
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy wishes to award one cash prize of $250 to a high school winner who effectively combines the contest theme and the vision of the Conservancy, which is to increase knowledge of Atlantic white sharks and change public perception to conserve the species and ensure biologically diverse marine ecosystems.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) Prizes
The PPC is a global alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses, and policymakers working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, the ocean, and the environment. The PPC will award prizes to six submissions that best exemplify the PPC mission. Submissions will be judged on originality, aesthetics, message, and functionality. The winner(s) will receive the following:
- High School Winners
First place: PPC bottle, PPC cup, PPC straw in PPC canvas bag
Second place: PPC bottle and PPC canvas bag
Third place: PPC bottle and PPC straw
- Middle School Winners
First: PPC bottle, PPC straw in red Chico bag
Second: PPC bottle and straw
Third: PPC bottle
naming your files
Please name your file in the following manner:
Main Entry File: CATEGORY-FIRSTNAME-LASTNAME-1
Additional files (for art): CATEGORY-FIRSTNAME-LASTNAME-2, CATEGORY-FIRSTNAME-LASTNAME-3
For example, Michael Jackson submitting photos of his painting would name his files:
And Lupita Ngyong’o submitting her film would name her files:
If you have any questions about your submission, please email email@example.com.
- All submissions must be received by June 13th, 2016 at 11:59pm EST to be entered into the contest.
- Entries may be submitted by an individual or group of unlimited size. If you submit as a group, there must be 1 email point-person, but all the names of the group members must be listed upon registration, and the prize money will be split among the group members.
- Any student may submit (meaning have their name included in) only one entry per category. Therefore, a student may have a maximum of four different submissions, one in each category.
- Entries submitted previously to the FTBS Ocean Awareness Student Contest are not allowed to be submitted for the 2016 contest.
- All entries must be the students' original work. While we recognize that existing sources will be used for inspiration and research, FTBS reserves the right to disqualify an entry if we suspect plagiarism.
- FTBS reserves the rights for reproduction of submissions and student work to be used as appropriate in all our media outlets.
- All winners will be notified by email the day before they are publically announced on the website.
- FTBS promises to run this contest fairly, ethically, and with integrity.
- Any student in grades 6-8 or the international or homeschool equivalent is eligible for the middle school division.
- Any student in grades 9-12 or the international or homeschool equivalent is eligible for the high school division.
- Students from any country may enter.
- Students must have one or more adult sponsors – usually your parent or teacher is your sponsor. Homeschooled students may put down their homeschool teacher’s name. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unable to meet this requirement.
- As long as you were a high school or middle school student for any amount of time during the Contest (Fall 2015 – June 2016) then you are eligible to enter.
- Judging begins immediately after the contest closes.
- Judges look for entries that address the theme of the contest and meet all of the requirements.
- Winners will be announced in October of 2016.
- All judges decisions are final.
We have lots of resources to help you get started including tips and inspiration for students, resources to get started on your research, links to organizations doing advocacy work, and much more!