The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 7 and 8 have launched the “See a Bloom, Give It Room” High School Video Challenge. The competition, supported by EPA’s Office of Research and Development, is calling for videos from high school students (grades 9-12) that promote public awareness of harmful algal blooms through creative filmmaking.
The contest is open to high school students or teams in EPA Regions 7 and 8: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. This includes students in public, private and tribal high schools, and home school programs.
Students are asked to create public safety videos (under 2 minutes in length) that explain how to spot harmful algal blooms and how people and their pets should be safe around them.
“Harmful algae have emerged as a persistent and challenging human health concern in recreational waters across our region,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We’re asking young and aspiring videographers to help us find creative ways to make people aware of the risks and prevent exposure.”
“Through this challenge, we’re asking high schoolers across our region to be creative, have fun, and be part of the solution,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Harmful algal blooms can be dangerous to people and pets participating in recreational activities in the water. Winning video entries from this challenge will help EPA and our state, local and tribal partners inform communities about the risks of harmful algal blooms and how to spot and steer clear of them.”
A winner from each state, along with two regional tribal winners, will be selected by judging panels to each receive a $2,000 cash prize. Two grand prize winners will also be selected to receive $4,000 each.
Winning videos will also be highlighted at the EPA Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Conference in February; featured on EPA web and social media channels; and used by the Agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach efforts.
Information about the challenge, helpful HAB video resources, and instructions on how to submit videos can be found at: www.epa.gov/innovation/harmful-algal-bloom-video-challenge.
Submissions are due by 11:00 pm (ET) on January 3, 2020.
Certain environmental conditions in water bodies can intensify algae growth, causing algal blooms. Blooms with the potential to harm human health or aquatic ecosystems are referred to as harmful algal blooms or HABs. In freshwater systems, cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) are microorganisms that can produce HABs. Some cyanobacterial HABs, or cyanoHABs, can produce toxins. CyanoHABs and their toxins can harm people, animals, aquatic ecosystems, the economy, drinking water supplies, property values, and recreational activities, including swimming and commercial and recreational fishing.