See a Bloom, Give it Room – Harmful Algal Bloom Video Challenge
Make a video teaching people how to spot and be safe around harmful algal blooms. Be creative, have fun, and be part of the solution.
Environmental Protection Agency
Type of Challenge: Creative (multimedia and design), scientific
Partner Agencies | Federal: Environmental Protection Agency Regions 7 and 8
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: EPA Region 7 and 8 states, Regional Tribal Operations Committees
Submission Start: 09/19/2019 11:00 AM ET
Submission End: 01/03/2020 11:00 PM ET
A harmful algal bloom is an overgrowth of algae in a water body that can affect water quality and aquatic life. Some blooms can produce toxins that may also harm people, animals, and the local environment.
We need high school students' help! Create a video, no more than two minutes in length, that teaches people how to spot harmful algal blooms and how to be safe around them. Videos should promote public awareness of harmful algal blooms to people who use the waters, such as swimmers, boaters, fishers, or people who bring pets or livestock to the waters.
Entrants must be students in grades 9-12 residing in one of the following states or tribal lands in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 7 and 8:
- Region 7 serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and 9 tribal nations.
- Region 8 serves Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and 27 tribal nations.
Entrants may be an individual or a team.
EPA will select a grand prize winner (individual or team) from each region who will each receive $4000 to be divided evenly among student participants. A winner (individual or team) from each state and a winner from each region’s combined group of tribal nations will also be selected for a $2000 cash prize, each, to be divided evenly among the student participants.
In addition to cash prizes, winning videos will be posted on the EPA web page and announced on February 5th, 2020 during the EPA Harmful Algal Blooms Workshop in Kansas.
Videos will be judged on scientific accuracy, creativity, and quality.
Key dates: The Challenge begins on September 19, 2019. All video entries must be submitted in digital format by 11:00 p.m. ET on January 3, 2020.
- Two grand prize awards of $4,000 to be split evenly among the participants. Grand prize awards will be given to the best video from each EPA Region.
- 12 first prize awards of $2,000 to be split evenly among the participants. First prize awards will be given for each state and regional tribal winner.
- 12 honorable mention certificates
Video Content: Videos must focus on informing the public about harmful algal blooms in water bodies (e.g. freshwater lakes and streams) and how to be safe around them. In the 0-2 minute video, Challenge-solvers must highlight at least one or more groups that use the waters such as swimmers, boaters, fishers, or people who bring pets or livestock to the waters.
Videos should raise awareness about available local, state, tribal, or federal government resources for this issue. Applicants should strive to be creative, innovative, and educational in their video content. Videos may include explanations or instructions.
Student names or school affiliation cannot appear in the video.
Video Specifications: To be eligible to participate, videos must meet the following specifications:
- Be 2 minutes or less in length
- Source video file must be one of the following formats: MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, AVI, WMV
- Aspect ratio of 16:9
- At either 24 or 30 (29.9) frames per second
- Frame size of 1920X1080
Selected winners will need to provide a video file to EPA.
Required Paperwork: Each video entry must be accompanied with the following paperwork:
- A written transcript of the video for closed captioning purposes
- Video Contest Form
- License Agreement
- Consent Form (for each individual appearing on the video)
Required forms can be accessed at www.epa.gov/innovation/harmful-algal-bloom-video-challenge.
Submission Limit: Each individual or team is limited to entering one video in the Challenge. Multiple submissions from the same source will be disqualified. Only the first 50 videos from each state and from each region’s tribal group that fulfill the requirements herein and are submitted by the deadline will be accepted for the competition.
Advisory for Challenge Participants: As described further in materials linked to under “Helpful Resources”, harmful algal blooms pose a health risk to humans and animals. Stay a safe distance from the water when you suspect a harmful algal bloom is present. Do not touch or drink water with a bloom.
Helpful Resources: To assist participants, EPA has assembled stock photos and video as well as other helpful resources at www.epa.gov/innovation/harmful-algal-bloom-video-challenge.
Terms and Conditions
- Entrants must be students in grades 9-12.
- Participants must reside in one of the following states or tribal lands in EPA Regions 7 and 8. Region 7 serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and 9 tribal nations. Region 8 serves Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and 27 tribal nations. Entrants may be an individual or a team.
- Children of EPA employees and children of affiliated state or tribal judging panel members may not apply.
Intellectual Property: Winning videos will be posted on the EPA web page and announced on February 5, 2020 during the EPA Harmful Algal Blooms Workshop in Kansas. Video content may be used by EPA and the general public for informational, educational, and or public relations purposes. Selected winners will need to provide a video file to EPA.
All video entries must be accompanied with signed License Agreement and Consent Forms found at www.epa.gov/innovation/harmful-algal-bloom-video-challenge.
Each individual appearing on the video must sign a Consent Form.
Music use must follow EPA guidelines on music licensing. For more information see www.epa.gov/innovation/harmful-algal-bloom-video-challenge.
Challenge participants are responsible for complying with applicable copyright and intellectual property laws for any materials used in their videos. “Fair use” rules may allow the use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances. As an example, see the fair use guidelines on YouTube. Participants should seek legal guidance if they have questions about using copyrighted materials.
Non-endorsement: EPA and EPA officials do not endorse any product, service or enterprise that may appear in submitted videos. Furthermore, by recognizing winning videos, EPA is not endorsing products, services or enterprises that may appear in those videos.
Funding Restrictions: Challenge-solvers cannot use funding from the Federal Government (either through grants or contracts) to compete in the Challenge.
All prize awards are subject to EPA verification of the winners’ identity, eligibility, and participation in the Challenge. Awards will be paid using electronic funds transfer and may be subject to federal income taxes. EPA will comply with the International Revenue Service (IRS) withholding and reporting requirements, where applicable.
A panel of state, tribal and EPA subject matter experts will judge video submissions. EPA will make final determinations and award all prize winners.
Plagiarism: EPA has a no-tolerance policy for plagiarism. Any applicant whose winning work is determined to be plagiarized in whole or in part will forfeit any awards.
Assistance: Teachers and administrators at schools, or parents who homeschool, can incorporate this challenge as part of their curriculum or incorporate it into an extramural activity. Teachers, administrators, or parents can guide students. Outside professional assistance is prohibited. Resources provided by EPA in the “Helpful Resources” section may be used.
Students are responsible for all elements of the video including the research, writing, filming, graphics, and editing.
Waiver: By entering this challenge, participant agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities (except in the case of willful misconduct), for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in the challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
Disclaimer: EPA reserves the right to disqualify and or clarify any submittal.
Judges will be a panel of state, tribal, and EPA subject matter experts. They will evaluate, score, and rank submissions based on scientific accuracy, creativity, and quality. EPA will make final determinations and award all prize winners.
The judging panel will use a 100-point scale to evaluate the videos. The scale will rank the extent to which the video:
- Has a clear message and theme that is easily understood (20 pts)
- Is supported by scientific references on harmful algal blooms (20 pts)
- Increases awareness of harmful algal bloom issues (15 pts)
- Is educational, imparts knowledge, or deepens understanding of the issue by recreational users (15 pts)
- Is in focus with balanced color and light and has logical transitions that move the narrative forward (10 pts)
- Has discernable audio that is easily understood (10 points)
- Relates to a water body in your state/tribal lands (10 points)
How To Enter
Entrants must post their video submission to YouTube as an unlisted video and send the link to their video entry, along with the required paperwork to R7PublicAffairs@epa.gov by the deadline.
Include in your subject line: "HAB Challenge Video Entry."
To ensure your submission is not blocked by EPA servers, please keep emails under 9 megabytes.
Point of Contact
Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email