Youth Story Project

Create a poem or artwork for the giant festival mural!

ocean poem mural mockup

The Youth Story Project (formerly Youth Story Contest) invites all youth in Pierce County to create an ocean poem or artwork on our droplet shape to add to a giant youth story mural for Tacoma Ocean Fest 2023 at the Foss Waterway Seaport.


  • Print out one of our droplet shapes (or draw your own) on letter-size paper. (Download below.)
  • On your droplet, create an ocean poem or artwork based on the prompt below. Get creative! How can you fit your poem – vertically? in a spiral? All languages and art forms welcome!
  • Each person can enter one poem and/or one artwork.
  • Cut out your droplet/s and add in-person to the art and poetry mural at Tacoma Ocean Fest, 10am-5pm Sat. June 4. Supplies provided!
  • From 1-2pm on June 4 join our poet educator April Ulinski for a festival poetry workshop! All ages.
  • Grownups, you can make one too to take home! (we ask that only youth voices feature on the mural itself)
  • Stay tuned for our summer plans for the mural!
  • Need tips, help or ocean science facts? Keep scrolling for tips and workshops!


Any youth (any grade) living or studying in Pierce County may enter. It’s free!

PROMPT: A Drop in the Ocean.

We are all droplets in the ocean of our planet.
CONNECTED: Just as all rivers and seas are connected, so we and all species are connected in our Earth’s ecosystem. Our actions affect our environment and our non-human relatives.
THREATENED: Ocean creatures are threatened by the results of our actions. Waters are warming and acidifying due to climate change from our fossil fuel use. Our plastics gather, swirl and break into ever-smaller pieces, choking and starving marine animals. Chemical and noise pollution floods their home. Unsustainable fishing leads to extinction. And, since we depend on the ocean for our food, our water, our climate and oxygen, those actions harm us too.
POWER TO PROTECT: But there is hope. Every one of us is a drop in this ocean. Together, we can be a wave of change to undo harm and protect all life. It begins here, with our voices.
SPEAK OUT: What is your droplet? What would the ocean say, if it had a voice? What can you say in words or art that will inspire our community to join in a wave of change?


Free Zoom poetry workshops available April-May from poet educator April Ulinski!
Limited availability – first come, first served. Book now via

Get Inspired

How do you create a poem ? Start with something that inspires you.
– an ocean animal, bird or plant
scientific data or research
– a personal ocean experience
– a local place, person or ocean creature
– an issue: climate change, pollution, species extinction, environmental justice (all people treated fairly under environmental laws)

Mike Coots photo of hammerhead shark