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Student Video Contest – How do I apply?

Black woman using her cell phone

How do I enter?

  1. Choose a topic for your video from the list at theriverstartshere.org/video-contest.
  2. Read the topic information carefully! Videos that contain inaccurate information will be disqualified.
  3. Make a 25 or 55 second video about your chosen topic. Be creative, give it a great title, and make sure it includes a clear call to action.
  4. Upload your video to YouTube with a minimum resolution of 720p. Be sure to check the settings for High Quality upload. You can keep the video unlisted (private), but be sure it’s viewable to anyone with the link that you send to us.
  5. Complete the application form no later than April 24, 2022. You’ll need a working email address and your parent or guardian’s contact information if you’re under 18. 
  6. Watch your email inbox for contest information and instructions! If your video is selected as a finalist, you’ll be prompted via email to submit your entry as an MP4 and given instructions about campaigning for the People’s Choice Award.

Follow Us

Follow The River Starts Here on social media for contest updates and tips. Find us at:

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Content Theme 2) Everyday Actions Add Up

There are many active transportation alternatives to cars! Read more about how active transportation can have a positive impact on our rivers and streams.

Background:

In cities, we have altered the natural waterways to include the grated drains on the street–called storm drains or catch basins. These drains usually flow directly to our local waterways and carry oil, grease, dirt, metals, pesticides, litter and bits of plastic, without any treatment. This is bad news for enjoying water bodies that we recreate on. This is also really bad for the fish and other wildlife that need clean, cold water in order to thrive. Imagine how you would feel if someone started dumping dirty water into your bathtub while you were using it! We can all help by doing everyday actions that add up!

Choose a clean water action from A. B. or C. below:

A. Lowering Transportation Impacts

Make a video showcasing walking, biking, bussing, scootering, skateboarding, or rollerblading, etc. to reduce your car trips each week.

Brakes and tires are sources of metals and other toxic compounds that wash onto roads and leach out of used tires piled outside. These pollutants cause harm to salmon and other wildlife. Ask for low or copper free brake pads at your next brake replacement. Example car care video.

Watch this video demonstrating safe car washing techniques and make your own fun version. Car washes are also a great alternative because they clean and recycle water. #fishfriendlycarwash #onelesstrip #copperfreebrakes #buswalkbike

B. Plastic Is Pollution

Avoid disposable items, especially plastic. So much of our waste is making it to our oceans and very few plastics are actually recyclable and only break down into microplastics that harm wildlife. If we bring reusable coffee mugs, water bottles and even durable straws each time we go out, imagine how much plastic we can avoid! #plasticispollution #godurable #goreusable

C.      Leave No Trace

Demonstrate the concepts for safe and healthy recreation. #leavenotrace #getoutside #recreateresponsibly #petwasteispollution #buryyourwaste #bagyourwipes

  • Stay on designated trails to limit impacts to wildlife and always control your pet.
  • Pack water and food in durable, reusable containers to avoid having trash (leave as much packaging at home as you can). Bring durable bowls, cups, towels instead of paper plates and napkins.
  • Put your fruit peels and snack wrappers back in your pack (bring a small bag to hold them).
  • Pick up after your pet in parks, playgrounds, at the beach, near waterways.
  • Bring a bag from home for trash and recycling and take it back with you.
  • Plan for bathroom needs. Bring a trowel to dig an 8” cathole to bury your poop at least 50’ from water bodies. Bring a ziploc labeled for each camper and put your used toilet paper, cotton wipes, and feminine products in it to throw away later. Some people go even more hard core and use smooth rocks or leaves as toilet paper and bring an extra sock to capture drips! Backcountry hiking in many places now requires GO Anywhere waste kits or WAG bags.

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Content Theme 1) Our Drinking Water / Don’t Dump That!

City of Gresham scientist tests local streams for pollutants. Pollutants include heavy metals, by-products from cars, and pesticides from lawns. Our public servants and scientists monitor our rivers and streams to keep our communities healthy.
Pollution to our rivers and streams can impact the health of our community’s drinking water. Learn more about how you can take action for clean water.

Background

Do you know where your community’s drinking water comes from? Depending on where you live, it might come from a river, a lake, or an underground aquifer. Some local rivers such as the Clackamas, the Mollala, the Trask, the Tualatin, and the Willamette may supply your drinking water. Make a video about how pollution can get into the rivers or groundwater that provide our drinking water.

Here are some ideas and resources to help you choose a theme for your video:

All water has the potential to eventually be someone else’s drinking water, either now or in the future. Ensuring that drinking water is safe to drink requires expensive technology, so keeping it clean is more cost effective than polluting our water and cleaning it up later.

Remember, what gets spilled, poured, or dropped on the ground can end up in rivers or groundwater. From cigarettes to coffee, paint, mop water, carpet cleaning water, lawn chemicals, and more–they can pollute our future drinking water on the surface or in the ground.

This video features many different issues and actions that you can generate your own video ideas from. Learn more about safe disposal from Metro. Include a call to action for protecting local waterways and drinking water.

Use storytelling to touch upon themes like: “what does The River Starts Here mean to you?” “why/how I’m a student for clean water” “my cultural connection to water” or “I love my local river because…”. 

Groups like Watershed Councils, Columbia and Willamette Riverkeepers, the Clackamas River Water Providers help engage people in water protection, clean ups, and tree plantings to protect surface and groundwater.  Your video could also feature a group working to engage in the public to create a better future.

Include at least one hashtag with a call to action at the end of your video. Hashtag suggestions (or make your own!): #riversaredrinkingwater #waterislife #waterconnectsus #dontpollute #dumpnowaste #drainstostreams #sweepitup #dontpollute #theriverstartshere #getinvolved #BeAWaterHero and include the website of the organization you are highlighting as the call to action.

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Video Topic Fact Sheet: Rivers are Drinking Water

City of Gresham scientist tests local streams for pollutants. Pollutants include heavy metals, by-products from cars, and pesticides from lawns. Our public servants and scientists monitor our rivers and streams to keep our communities healthy.
Pollution to our rivers and streams can impact the health of our community’s drinking water. Learn more about how you can take action for clean water.

Background

Do you know where your community’s drinking water comes from? Depending on where you live, it might come from a river, a lake, or an underground aquifer. Some local rivers such as the Clackamas, the Mollala, the Trask, the Tualatin, and the Willamette may supply your drinking water. Make a video about how pollution can get into the rivers or groundwater that provide our drinking water.

Here are some ideas and resources to help you choose a theme for your video:

  • We all belong to a watershed, an area of land that drains to a waterbody, directly or indirectly. And so we all live downstream from somewhere and what we do anywhere affects the river downstream. Explain this concept in creative ways using video. 
  • Find out where your community gets its drinking water and make a video about it. Use your address to look up your water provider, then check their website or contact them to find out where they get the water that’s piped to your home or school.
  • Everyday actions like washing cars, maintaining a lawn, and walking dogs can pollute rivers. Make a video about minimizing water pollution in your daily life. 
  • Communities use storm drain markers to help people understand that stormwater goes straight into the river. Many communities have maps showing the underground network of stormwater pipes. Explain where stormwater goes from where it enters the storm drains in your community.
  • What does “The River Starts Here” mean to you? Make a video that answers this question. Remember to include a call to action.
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Video topic fact sheet: Leave No Trace

A group of eight people holding up SOLVE trash bags filled with materials found in the wilderness on Sauvie Island.
Learn more about how you can #leavenotrace when you spend time in the wilderness.

Background

How can we enjoy our land and water while keeping it safe and beautiful for all to use? Here are some facts and ideas to help you choose a theme for your video.

Visiting the wilderness? Be sure to:

  • Clean your shoe treads before you go to avoid introducing weed seeds to wild areas.
  • Stay on designated trails to limit impacts to wildlife and always control your pet.
  • Pack water and food in durable, reusable containers to avoid having trash (leave as much packaging at home as you can). 
  • Bring a grocery bag to pick up pieces of litter you may find and pick up after your dog. 
  • Put your fruit peels and snack wrappers back in your pack (bring a small bag to hold them).
  • If you smoke, carry a metal container (like a mint tin) for your butts.

 Staying overnight? Plan ahead:

  • Bring a bag from home for trash and recycling and take it back with you. 
  • Plan for bathroom needs. Bring a trowel to dig an 8” cathole to bury your poop at least 50’ from water bodies. Bring a ziploc labeled for each camper and put your used toilet paper, cotton wipes, and feminine products in it to throw away later. Some people go even more hard core and use smooth rocks or leaves as toilet paper and bring an extra sock to capture drips!
  • Bring biodegradable soap. Filter food particles out of your dishwashing water and bury them or use the designated dish wash station at campgrounds.
  • Rinse your mouth and toothbrush into the fire pit or spread into soil. Always keep human waste, soap, and wash water out of streams. 
  • Bring a quick dry camp towel for dishes or for rinsing off your body. 
  • Pick up microtrash before you leave! Animals often try to eat small bits of plastic and other packaging. 
  • Find information on the National Park Service website.
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Video Topic Factsheet: Active Transportation

There are many active transportation alternatives to cars! Read more about how active transportation can have a positive impact on our rivers and streams.

Background:

Car emissions, engines, metal bodies, brake pads, and tires all shed pollutants including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, formaldehyde, chromium, copper, zinc, arsenic, mercury, oils, and grease. Streets and bridges shed pollution from cars into our streams by way of storm drains. Outdoor stacks of used tires also leach pollution into rainwater. Some pollutants attach to soil and move into streams as soil is washed away. 

Metals used for cars parts, like copper, nickel, and zinc, are toxic to fish. Fish are more sensitive to metals than people. For example, people can safely swim in water with copper, but it inhibits a salmon’s sense of smell, making it less likely to detect a warning pheromone from another salmon. 

Here are some facts and ideas to help you choose a theme for your video:

  • Pollution from cars can be deadly to fish. In Seattle, salmon that returned to a restored stream turned upside down and began gasping for air after swimming in stormwater that drained from a road and mixed with the stream water. Read about it and watch a video here.
  • A good way to reduce car-related water pollution is to drive less. Use alternative transportation whenever you can (walking, biking, scootering, skateboarding, rollerblading, carpooling, or mass transit), and drive when you need to. Explore how using the best form of transportation for the trip can reduce water pollution. Active transportation is good for everyone!
  • Reduce car-related pollution by making maintenance choices with clean water in mind. When you replace your car’s brake pads, ask for low/no copper parts. If your car leaks, use a drip pan and clean up oil on pavement with kitty litter and a broom. Never dump auto fluids on the ground or into streets or storm drains.
  • Wash your car at a car wash, not in your driveway where the wash water can make its way to storm drains. Detergents (even those labeled biodegradable) and grease from dirty cars is dangerous to streams. Dirty water from commercial car washes goes to wastewater treatment plants where pollutants are filtered out. If you do wash your car at home, make sure wash water soaks into the ground and doesn’t run into the street. Watch this short video that shows one way to safely wash cars at home.
  • Choices you make today will affect the world of your future! Think about ways young people can protect rivers and streams by reducing their current and future dependence on cars.

Find more helpful information at these links

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Video Topic Factsheet: Climate Change

An action you can take to stop climate change is growing food at home. Learn more tips below on how to grow vegetables in houses or apartments!

Background

Climate change also impacts our rivers and streams. Make a video about how our changing climate is changing rivers and affecting the wildlife in and around them.

Here are some ideas and resources to help you choose a theme for your video:

  • Our changing climate impacts rivers in many ways. Make a video about an impact that’s particularly important to you.
  • The Pacific Northwest’s salmon population is threatened by warming rivers and oceans because they need cold water to survive. Make a video about the impact of climate change on our native fish.
  • Climate change is affecting the Columbia River, which forms much of the border between Oregon and Washington. Make a video about the Columbia or another river in your local community.
  • Learn about specific ways climate is changing Oregon and Washington and make a video about it. Remember to relate what you learned to clean water and include a call to action.
  • Warmer temperatures threaten water quality in our rivers and streams by supporting growth of harmful algae. Learn about algal blooms, these algae are responsible for closing Vancouver Lake and parts of the Willamette River for recreation each year.
  • Climate change is making the urban heat island effect worse, and one of the impacts of urban heat is increased water pollution. Make a video about heat-influenced water pollution and actions people can take to reduce it. Learn about Portland’s Green/Ecoroofs and visit ecoroofs to make a video about their benefits

What actions can I and my family take to help stop climate change?

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Student Video Contest – What are the details?

Eligible Participants:

  • Are in 6th-12th grade as of fall 2020.
  • Are enrolled in a public, private, charter, or home school in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington County (Washington State students: find your contest at stormwaterpartners.com/video-contest).

Video Entries:

  • Must be exactly 55 or 25 seconds long.
  • Must focus on one of the subjects listed at theriverstartshere.org/video-contest.
  • Must be factually accurate.
  • Must be viewable on YouTube with a minimum resolution of 720p.
  • Must be submitted via completed application form.

Finalists:

  • Entries that meet the video entry criteria will be selected as finalists.
  • To remain eligible, finalists must submit signed waivers and photo releases and upload an MP4 file of their entry by the deadline.

Winners and Prizes:

  • $500 prizes will be awarded to each of four categories:
    • 1. Clean Water Actions
    • 2. Community Storytelling
    • 3. BIPOC Filmmaker
    • 4. People’s Choice
  • Winning videos will be edited for branding and used in the RCCRS summer 2021 water health campaign. Use may include distribution via social media and other channels. 

Dates and Deadlines:

  • May 20, 2021: applications due
  • June 4, 2021: finalists notified
  • June 11, 2021: deadline for finalists to submit MP4 files
  • June 14-21, 2021: social media campaigning for People’s Choice award open
  • July 1, 2021: winners notified and press release distributed
  • Summer 2021: winning videos used in RCCRS water health campaign
  • Fall 2021: winning videos screened during Portland EcoFilm Festival

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2021 Student Video Contest Launching Soon

In January 2021, The River Starts Here be announcing the launch of our second annual Student Video Contest for clean rivers and streams. To get you inspired for a new year and new creative videos, we wanted to share the student winners from 2020. Please enjoy this playlist of 2020 winners and honorable mentions!


Winners

Honorable Mentions

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How To Remove Roof Moss the Eco-Friendly Way

A curved roof with a thick layer of moss growing on it. Moss covered roofs are a common problem in the Portland Metro Region.

It’s no secret that the Portland Metro Region gets A LOT of rain. On average, our region gets anywhere from 42-56 inches of rain per year. As a homeowner, this can pose a lot of challenges when it comes to gutters, foundations, roofs and more.

If you live in the Portland Metro Region and have a layer of moisture-loving moss growing on your roof, these tips are for you!

Moss can cause damage to your roof

Moss can grow in thick mats that capture and hold moisture. In the long term, this moisture can cause leaks and damage to your roof. Moss that grows on decks, sidewalks or driveways can also pose a slipping hazard.

Many moss-removal chemicals are harmful to humans and animals

Many off the shelf moss-removal chemicals can cause harm to you, your family and your pets. Hazardous chemicals include Ammonium sulfate, copper sulfate, ferric and ferrous sulfates, sodium pentachlorophenate, zinc chloride, and zinc sulfate. Keep your eyes peeled for these ingredients.

On rainy days, these chemicals may wash off your roof into your garden or pipes that feed into your local river. These chemicals can be toxic to our local animals and fish.

You have eco-friendly moss removal options

A yellow home in Portland, Oregon boasts a moss-free roof.

You have many eco-friendly options for removing moss from your roof.

Moss loves moist and shady conditions. You may reduce moss growth by pruning branches that shade your roof and removing nearby leaves, pine needles and branches. Once you carefully clear brush from your roof, you can use a garden hose or wet broom to push moss off of the roof. Pressure washers can also be used but are generally not recommended because they can damage roofing materials. Many local businesses can provide manual moss removal services.

There are also chemical removal options that are considered low in hazard. Potassium salts of fatty acids and ammonium salts of fatty acids are low-hazard active ingredients to look for. If you’re looking for a long term solution, installing metallic zinc strips on your roof can be a great solution. These metal strips stop or slow the growth of moss for years at a time.

Moss Removal Resources

Want to learn more about eco-friendly moss removal? Check out these resources:

Oregon Metro – Moss removal chemical hazards and removal recommendations

Grow Smart Grow Safe – Moss Control

Oregon State University – Moss on Roofs

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