Students for Clean Water Student Video Contest

2021 Contest Winners on #theRiverStartsHere YouTube

Application Details

Contest entries will consist of 25- or 55-second videos about water pollution. All Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County Oregon high school students are invited to participate. Public, private, charter, and home school students are eligible. Clark County, WA middle to high school students apply here.

Up to five $500 Prizes will be awarded, details below.


Application deadline: April 24, 2022 Submit your video link here.

Finalists notified: May 9, 2022

Deadline for finalists to submit MP4 files: May 16, 2021

Promote your video for People’s Choice award: May 20-26, 2022

Winners notified and press release distributed: June 1, 2022

Enter your video here.

STEPS to Enter.

  1. Review these two categories and create a story line or script. Enlist friends and family to aid with camera work, etc.
  2. Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and video making tips below.
  3. Free help workshops are offered every Tues and Friday at Outside the Frame.
  4. Submit your entry by April 24, 2022.
  5. Create a YouTube account for yourself to upload your finished video.
  6. Experiencing problems or have other questions email us.

Content Background

You already know that water is vital to our existence. But did you know that we all live in a watershed that drains to a creek, stream, lake, river, and eventually, the ocean? We are all connected by water. Rivers are great life forces that sustain our iconic pacific northwest salmon, trout, and sturgeon, support wildlife and provide people a place to boat, float, splash, fish, and paddle.  They are used for shipping goods and some are even used as a source of drinking water.

The goal of this contest is to teach others with your video about cultural connections to water and nature and/or positive ways to contribute to water protection.

  • Imagine your video is a way to teach others about the actions they can take to protect water.
  • Use your creativity to grab viewers’ attention, keep them watching to the end and leave them with an “aha” moment.
  • Consider using action, comedy and/or emotion to help get your point across.  
  • Select a call to action and give your video a cool movie name.
  • Check out previous entries to get your creativity flowing.


Am I eligible to enter the contest?

The contest is open to 9th-12th grade students in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties through this application form. Clark County students can also apply through a different application process.

Can my video be about anything related to clean water?

There are two main content themes. Drinking Water/Don't Dump That! or Everyday Actions Add Up.  There are suggested focus areas within each theme along with #hashtags.  Don't forget to include your call to action and #hashtag at the end of your video.

What prizes could I win?

Up to five $500 prizes will be awarded in the two content theme areas: Our Drinking Water / Don't Dump That! and Everyday Actions Add Up.  Two of the five awards will include Honoring Diverse Voices and the People’s Choice for the video that receives the most community views, likes, and comments on #theRiverStartsHere YouTube channel.  (See timeline).

How long should my video be?

Video contest entries can be either 25 or 55 seconds long to allow them to be used in The River Starts Here social media campaigns.  All entries become property of The River Starts Here campaign and may be post production edited with RSH logo and branding.  

Can I submit more than one video to the contest?

Yes, we’ll accept two entries per student. Please complete a separate application form for each entry.

Can I use stock footage or images?

Please limit the use of copyright free stock footage, if you can. We want to see your creativity! Your entry should primarily consist of original footage, filmed or animated by you or your team. Review YouTube’s policies on what is acceptable as Fair Use.

What about music?

If you use music in your video, be sure to include documentation of the source and legal rights in your application form. Learn about YouTube’s copyright policies and find out how to get free music.  Note, if you use TikTok to edit your video, you must select "commercial sounds" for music or use YouTube's copyright free music after uploading a music free video from TikTok.

Do you have any tips?


  • Review the provided content theme information carefully! If your video contains inaccurate information, it will be automatically disqualified. Email if you have questions.
  • Be sure to include a clear call to action and include a #hashtag at the end.
  • Give your video a descriptive and attention-grabbing title. Think about what it would be called if it was showing in a theater.
  • Clean your lens. Film in landscape (camera is showing the wide view). Hold your phone with two hands while filming.
  • Select your video recording quality settings to high quality (1080 or 720p minimum) , 24 to 30 frames per second, use 60 fps if you plan to slow down the video.
  • Render your edited video to the highest quality as well. Finally, under your YouTube profile, go to settings and select the highest upload quality.
  • When using a free video editor, select one that does not watermark and will export to YouTube quality. Search YouTube for advice on best free mobile phone editors for IOS or Android. More info:
What is the Honoring Diverse Voices category?

The Portland-Vancouver Metro region is built on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes.  The accomplishments, contributions, and stewardship of land, air, and water by the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community have long been suppressed, marginalized, and excluded.

The River Starts Here campaign is committed to amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to promote and engage in an ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion dialogue that will lead to meaningful change and equitable outcomes including safe and welcoming experiences in the outdoors.  We are committed to building a platform for shared stories, voices and lived experiences.

Can my video be bilingual?

Students are welcome to feature their cultural native language as voice or subtitle and to use English as the alternate.


Up to five $500 first prizes will be awarded in two theme content areas*:

  1. Our Drinking Water / Don’t Dump That!
  2. Everyday Actions Add Up

*Two of the awards include:

A. Honoring Diverse Voices -best video submitted by students who identify as part of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community (see application form)

B. People’s Choice -all accepted submissions will automatically be entered and the video receiving the most community views, likes, and comments on #theRiverStartsHere YouTube channel (see timeline)

Enter your video here.