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West High School Students in Iowa City, Iowa, Selected as Grand Prize Winners of EPA ‘See a Bloom, Give It Room’ High School Video Challenge

Students receive $6,000 for video raising awareness about harmful algal blooms

05/15/2020
Contact Information: 
Ashley Murdie (murdie.ashley@epa.gov)
913-551-7785

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

See A Bloom, Give It Room: Harmful Algal Bloom Video Challenge(Lenexa, Kan., May 15, 2020) - Today, two West High School students in Iowa City, Iowa, were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 as grand prize winners of the “See a Bloom, Give It Room” High School Video Challenge.

The competition, supported by EPA’s Office of Research and Development, called for videos from high school students (grades 9-12) that promoted public awareness of harmful algal blooms through creative filmmaking.

West High School students Shreya Khullar and Caroline Mascardo won the Region 7 grand prize by showing us the dangers of harmful algal blooms through a stop-motion animation film.

“The creativity and enthusiasm these students showcased in the production of their videos demonstrates how influential our youth can be in educating communities on important environmental protection and public safety issues,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “These students produced creative videos that will help communities across our country learn about the risks of harmful algal blooms and how to spot and steer clear of them, and be safe.”

This challenge called for students to create public safety videos that help the public identify and stay safe around harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs are a potential danger for people and pets. The contest was open to high school students or teams residing in the states and tribal lands of EPA Regions 7 and 8: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and 27 tribal nations.

The videos were highlighted at the EPA Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Conference, are featured on EPA web and social media channels, and will be used by the Agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach efforts.

For contest details and a complete list of winners, visit EPA’s website.

Learn more about featured EPA contests and challenges.

Background

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, commercial fishing, and recreational activities like swimming and fishing.

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Learn more about HABs and visit EPA's main HABs page

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