Ohio Marine Debris Art Challenge

Various marine debris items on a beach.

Even during this challenging time when many are at home, our waste can still become marine debris. We want your help to raise awareness about the global problem of marine debris, especially in the Great Lakes. We’re looking for original and inspiring art from students in coastal Ohio to help encourage others to be part of the marine debris solution.

All students in grades 6-12 from the Lake Erie region of Ohio enrolled in recognized public, private, and home schools are eligible to participate. Schools, including home schools, must be in compliance with federal and state civil rights and nondiscrimination statutes. We also encourage organizations and clubs that are not affiliated with schools to participate (e.g., Scouts, 4-H). Students may work individually or in a group of no more than 4 students with an adult in a leadership role. Each individual or group of students may only submit one entry. There is no limitation on the number of entries a teacher/adult, classroom, school, or organization may submit.

For a complete list of contest rules, download the Contest Rules & Information document, located under the "Resources" box.

After learning about marine debris in the ocean and Great Lakes and how we all may be contributing with our trash, students will create marine debris artwork from repurposed trash, which will focus on Lake Erie wildlife! All entries must meet the requirements below:

  • There should be 1 to 4 students per entry; Groups should have no more than 4 students
  • Artwork must be made primarily of repurposed trash from the waste at home or school, such as clean plastic, metal, or paper. The exception to this rule would be the base the artwork stands on.
  • Art should focus on the theme of Lake Erie wildlife
  • Art must be less than 2ft x 2ft in size and able to stand on its own, if necessary
  • Be creative! Different types of artwork (e.g., sculpture, diorama, mural, likeness, mixed media) are all encouraged.
  • Any electrical elements should run off of battery and no hazardous materials should be used
  • Avoid any licensed characters, brand and product names, as well as licensed music in the artwork (i.e., hide product names on debris items)
  • Students and leaders need to submit:
    • One 750 word summary per group. The essay should focus on what they learned about marine debris, how they evaluated the waste they produced, and how they can personally make changes to the amount of waste they produce.
    • Entry Form
    • Picture(s) of the artwork
    • Student Releases for each student

Students are highly encouraged to check out the NOAA Marine Debris Program's website for information about marine debris, and teachers are encouraged to use the “Trash Tracker” curriculum as a resource (An Educator’s Guide to Marine Debris - pages 22-24). We’ve also provided a recorded presentation and alternative waste tracking worksheet for those that may be learning virtually.

Entries (entry form, essay, picture of artwork, and student releases) should be emailed to sarah.lowe@noaa.gov by 11:59pm April 15th, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact either bixler.42@osu.edu or Sarah.Lowe@noaa.gov

Donating & Sponsoring Organizations

  • NOAA Marine Debris Program
  • Ohio Sea Grant
  • The Ohio State University F.T. Stone Laboratory
  • Ohio Congressional District 9 (Rep. Marcy Kaptur)
  • Cedar Point Amusement Park 
  • Lake Erie Charter Boat Association
  • Miller Ferry Boat Line

This contest was created in 2016 in partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Ohio Sea Grant/OSU Stone Laboratory, and Ohio Congressional District 9 (Rep. Marcy Kaptur).