ConVal High School science and oceanography teacher Ken Cloutier received a Sponsor Recognition Award of $750 in the Ocean Awareness Student Contest, which announced its High School winners today. Over 20 of Cloutier’s students submitted to the contest this year, in addition to the 14 students he sponsored last year too.
“I like to find opportunities for my students to combine art and science” says Cloutier. “I included this contest as a project in my Oceanography classes. It challenged my students to think outside the box and demonstrate science knowledge in a creative way.”
This year, the contest prompted students to consider “Our Oceans, Our Plastic” to direct attention to the growing international problem of ocean plastic pollution. While the contest has run for the last 4 years – focusing on issues such as right whale conservation and sea bird restoration – this is the first year that the contest has been open to Middle School Students. Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, the international ocean conservation non-profit that hosts the contest each year, plans to give out over $50,000 to the winners of the middle and high school divisions of the contest.
Submissions ranged from essays and stories exploring the cause of plastic pollution to sculptures and dresses crafted completely out of discarded beach plastics. The artists and their work will be featured in real-world exhibition and distribution projects that will be coordinated with Bow Seat’s international partners over the coming year. Each project will aim to spread awareness of plastic pollution and ocean conservation to the public by engaging the public with the teen’s art, poetry, writing, and films.
“Jacques Cousteau said that people protect what they love,” says contest founder Linda Cabot. “While science and technology are critical to understanding our planet and deciding what to do next, alone they aren’t enough to inspire long-term cultural shifts. Humans aren’t purely rational creatures. That’s why need to convey creative narratives like stories, poetry, film, and visual art – they engage our emotions, our heart. We need to use our heads and our hearts so that we can protect this planet that we love.”
The High School winners of the contest can be viewed online, and the 2016 Contest will open in November and run until next June. Visit fromthebowseat.org to see all the winners and more information.