Youth Story Contest

Tell your ocean story in poetry or film.


2021 Theme: Share. Respect. Protect.

The ocean is beautiful. Astonishing animals, underwater worlds, light, color, sound. And it’s right here on our doorstep: the misty, cold Salish Sea.
But it’s also threatened, by plastic pollution, climate change, species extinction.
We share the ocean. Not just with every other human, since we depend on it for oxygen, water, food, weather, life. But with all our non-human kin, from whales to whelks. We all have the right to live in our home.
Start with respect. Indigenous wisdom reminds us that it’s only through respecting each other and our environment that we can live sustainably. We are all connected.
Go on to protect. The problems are big – and so are the solutions. It will take all of us to protect our ocean and ourselves. Let’s start now.

beach walk

Get inspired!

Watch our marine biologist-led beach walks for ocean inspiration, or search the Resources page for how-tos on poetry, filmmaking and science.

girl with phone

Categories (apply in one or both):
– Poetry (500 words or less)
– Film (3 minutes or less)

boy writing

Divisions (only apply in one):
– High school
– Middle school

Middle and high school students who live or learn in the Tacoma, WA school district or who attend Chief Leschi Schools are eligible to participate. (Includes private, public and homeschoolers.)


ALL ENTRIES: A personal pizza coupon and an Ocean Fest sticker (this will be mailed to you)
ALL FINALISTS: Reading/screening work live at Tacoma Ocean Fest and online. Other prizes tbd.
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced live at Tacoma Ocean Fest, June 6.
FIRST PLACE (all categories): High school $150; middle school $100
SECOND PLACE (all categories): High school $100; middle school $50.
THIRD PLACE (all categories): High school $50, middle school $30

Rules & FAQ: Read them here

Story Resources: Videos, links and more.

Past finalists and winners: poems, films, graphs.

Lead sponsor:

Rotary Sunrise Club of Tacoma

With support from Rotary 8 – thank you!

Other sponsors and partners: