Communicating for a Clean Future: Ohio Marine Debris Challenge

Various marine debris items on a beach.

All students in grades 9-12 from the Lake Erie region of Ohio who are 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 (ex. Scouts, 4-H, etc.). Students may work individually or in a group of no more than 10 students with an adult in a leadership role. There is no limitation on the number of entries a 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 oceans and Great Lakes, students will develop a public service announcement which should focus on inspiring others to address marine debris in the Great Lakes. All must meet the requirements below:

  • There should be 1 to 10 students per group entry
  • PSAs will be no more than 1 minute in length and focus on the Great Lakes environment and species. PSAs longer than one minute will not be eligible.
  • Be creative!  Different mediums (animation, stop-motion, live action, etc.) are all encouraged
  • Avoid any brand and product names as well as licensed music in the PSA (Hide product names on debris items)
  • Students and leaders need to submit:
  • One 750 word summary per group of what they learned from the lesson/curriculum, including any worksheets, graphs, etc.
  • PSA video on a DVD as a .MP4 video ONLY and no larger than 30MB in size. Leaders, please verify this format before submitting.
  • Entire PSA script
  • Entry Form
  • Student Releases

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 “Communicating for a Clean Future” curriculum as a resource (Turning the Tide on Trash - pg 87).

Entries (entry form, DVD, script, lesson summary/data, and student releases) should be mailed to:

NOAA Marine Debris Program
Attn: Sarah Lowe
240 W. Lake St. - Unit C
Oak Harbor, OH 43449

All entries must be postmarked by Friday, March 13th, 2020. Please note that entries will not be returned.

If you have any questions, please contact either or

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).