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Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat) and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) have launched the Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge, which uses the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale to educate young residents about the threats facing the Gulf of Maine and the world’s oceans.

The Challenge invites K-12 students from the region surrounding the Gulf of Maine to use their creative voices to highlight the plight of North Atlantic right whales and the need for conservation of marine ecosystems and resources. Participants will create visual art, poetry, and short films that celebrate the iconic species and drive action for its protection. The artwork created for the Challenge will be featured at community events held throughout the year designed to raise awareness of the threats facing our oceans.

“North Atlantic right whales are in crisis and could be extinct in our lifetime without immediate action,” said Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Director of Ocean Conservation at CLF. “This iconic species contributes to the health of the ocean ecosystem, which benefits all of the communities surrounding the Gulf of Maine. We hope this challenge will educate our youngest residents about the importance of healthy oceans and the threats facing right whales. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to wait any longer to help save this majestic species.”

The dilemma surrounding North Atlantic right whales is indicative of the overall threats presently facing our oceans, including the impacts of global warming, increasing industrialization, and plastic pollution.

“We believe that students who learn by ‘creating’ experience deeper knowledge and forge a more personal connection with ideas, and that the arts are an effective way to communicate about issues important to them,” said Linda Cabot, Founder and President of Bow Seat. “We are thrilled to partner with CLF to elevate youth voices to expose the plight of the right whales, and to empower students through the creative process to make a positive change for our blue planet.”

Challenge Details:
The Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge is open to students in grades K-12 who are residents of the New England or Gulf of Maine regions in the U.S. and Canada (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Tribal Nations). Submissions are accepted in visual art, poetry, and film. Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorable Mention cash awards (ranging from $50-$750 each) will be given in each of three divisions: Grades K-3, 4-7, and 8-12. The Challenge is now open and will close on December 17, 2018. Judging will take place in January and February 2019, and winners will be acknowledged at a public awards ceremony in Boston in the spring of 2019. For more information, go to www.HealthyWhale.org.

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About Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (www.bowseat.org): Bow Seat is a Boston-based nonprofit that activates the next wave of ocean leaders through the arts, science, and advocacy. For more than seven years, Bow Seat has hosted the Ocean Awareness Contest, an international scholarship program that challenges teens worldwide to explore the connections between human activities and the health of our ocean through visual art, writing, film, and music. Nearly 10,000 teenagers have participated in the Contest, representing 78 countries and all 50 U.S. states.

About Conservation Law Foundation (www.clf.org): CLF protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people, using the law, science, and the market to create solutions that preserve our natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy. CLF has taken action to protect right whales for decades, from successfully fighting oil and gas drilling within whales’ habitats, to ensuring offshore wind projects don’t cause harm, to taking on the federal government to protect whales from threats posed by commercial fishing gear.

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