For a chance to win, create a video that teaches people how to spot harmful algal blooms and how to be safe around them.
Region 7: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, or one of nine tribal nations (listed here).
- Region 8: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado or one of 27 tribal nations (listed here).
Be creative, have fun, and be part of the solution!
Find details on Challenge.gov.
High school students will 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.
A harmful algal bloom (HAB) is an overgrowth of algae in a water body that can affect water quality and aquatic life. Some HABs can produce toxins that may also harm people, animals, and the local environment. We want your help to 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.
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 nine 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 webpage and announced on Feb. 5, 2020, during the EPA Harmful Algal Blooms Workshop in Kansas.
Videos will be judged on scientific accuracy, creativity and quality.
The Challenge began Sept. 19, 2019. All video entries must be submitted in digital format by 11 p.m. EST on Jan. 3, 2020.
9/19/2019, 11 a.m. EDT
1/3/2020, 11 p.m. EST
- 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.
Be 2 minutes or less in length
- Source video file must be one of the following formats: MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, AVI or 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.
A written transcript of the video for closed-captioning purposes
- Video Challenge Entry Form
- License Agreement
- Consent Form (for each individual appearing on the video)
Required forms can be accessed in the Helpful Resources section below (see Documents).
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.
To assist participants, EPA has assembled stock photos and video as well as other Helpful Resources in the section below.
- 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 nine 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.
- Winning videos will be posted on the EPA webpage and announced on Feb. 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 below. Each individual appearing on the video must sign a Consent Form.
- Music use must follow EPA guidelines on music licensing. See the Helpful Resources section below.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 of this webpage may be used.
- Students are responsible for all elements of the video including the research, writing, filming, graphics and editing.
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.
EPA reserves the right to disqualify and or clarify any submittal.
Post video submission to YouTube as an unlisted video.
- Send video link and required paperwork by email to R7PublicAffairs@epa.gov.
- Send emails with Subject: HAB Challenge Video Entry.
- Note: To ensure your submission is not blocked by EPA servers, please keep emails under 9 megabytes.
Total Cash Prize Pool:
- 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.
- 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 Honorable Mention Certificates
12 Honorable Mention Certificates
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.
Has a clear message and theme that is easily understood (20 points)
- Is supported by scientific references on harmful algal blooms (20 points)
- Increases awareness of harmful algal bloom issues (15 points)
- Is educational, imparts knowledge, or deepens understanding of the issue by recreational users (15 points)
- Is in focus with balanced color and light and has logical transitions that move the narrative forward (10 points)
- Has discernable audio that is easily understood (10 points)
- Relates to a water body in your state/tribal lands (10 points)
For questions about this challenge, please contact: R7PublicAffairs@epa.gov.
- Infographics: https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs/infographics-help-educate-public-habs-basics
- Cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (HAB) information: https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs
- State HABs resources: https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs/state-habs-resources
Documents:You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.
- EPA Music Licensing Guidance (PDF)(2 pp, 147 K, July 2018)
- EPA Multimedia Consent Form (PDF)(1 pg, 511 K, Sept 2019)
- Video/Audio/Photo License Agreement Form (multimedia) (PDF)(1 pg, 545 K)
- Harmful Algal Bloom Video Challenge Entry Form (PDF)(2 pp, 4 MB, 9/18/19)
- 2019 Harmful Algal Bloom Video Challenge Flier (PDF)(1 pg, 10 MB, 9/18/19)