December 2021

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
  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.


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.


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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