The River Starts Here launched the first annual Student Video Contest in 2020 and received an overwhelming response from participants and viewers who learned about our connection with local waterways. In this first year, local youth environmentalists passionate about telling their story responded to the call and helped create videos about how we each have a role in protecting rivers and streams.
On June 6, 36 middle and high school student finalists from throughout the Portland Metro area shared videos to encourage clean water behaviors like reducing pesticide use, practicing Leave No Trace principles in natural areas and traveling by transit, bike and foot to reduce pollution. Expert judges from the film industry, governments and river organizations voted to select the winners for the best 55-second and 25-second videos. From June 6-19, students rallied friends and family to vote for them to win the People’s Choice Award for the most liked, commented, viewed and shared video. Over 4,000 community members watched student videos, which were viewed over 11,000 times. Viewers submitted over 1,800 likes and added hundreds of comments. Commenters shared their enthusiasm for these creative videos.
“I always forget that everyday activities can be harmful to my community whether I intended it to or not, I will definitely remember the car wash part!” – Margo Flanagan
“This is the greatest public service announcement for keeping our waters clean I have ever seen.” – Robert Pirtle
The River Starts Here is proud to announce the contest winners.
- Winner of the 25-second Video Award: Water Pollution From Cars by Ava Behunin, Art and Communication Magnet Academy, Beaverton
- Winner of the 55-second Video Award: Everyday Water Pollution Prevention by Liza Wadell and Serena Rothman, Lake Oswego High School, Lake Oswego
- Winner of the People’s Choice Award: Hazardous Materials and Recycling by Ekansh Gupta, ACCESS Academy, Portland
- Stormwater Pollution Stop-motion by Charlie Johnson, Alliance Charter School, Oregon City
- Fishy by Jaden Winn, Wilson High School, Portland
- Walking with Trash by Charlie Abrams, Cleveland High School, Portland
The River Starts Here is excited to celebrate and honor these youth creators. Each winner will receive $500, be individually recognized by government leaders and have the opportunity to screen their video at the Portland EcoFilm Festival. Leaders at the River Starts Here are already looking forward to next year.
“We had an incredible outpouring of youth who are passionate about protecting the health of our local rivers and streams. We saw so much creativity – from handmade animation, to funny movie spoofs, to impassioned calls for change. We cannot wait to continue supporting youth environmentalists in next year’s Student Video Contest” – The River Starts Here partner, Christa Britton
The River Starts Here is a coalition of local governments working together to share how our everyday actions impact the health of local rivers and streams.