Student Innovation Contest: 2021 winners

The Student Innovation Contest showcased the best of this year’s student stewardship projects.

All of us at Raincoast were  inspired by the tenacity, bravery, and optimism of young people like Robin Buss, Mercedes Robinson, and Coastal Insights host Peter Underwood. These young stewards showed us that passion and the pursuit of a better future can motivate you at any age.

Coincident with Raincoast’s Coastal Insights Program, the Take a Stand team hosted a Stream to Sea: Conservation, Community and Cultures initiative, alongside the Vancouver Maritime Museum, to educate youth about wild salmon as BC’s Foundational species, their vast cultural significance, and about youth conservation activities provided by a wild salmon action kit.  

Both organizations observed that there were more young people in BC who felt called to make a positive impact on the world  around them.  

Many teachers and students have reached out to us to let us know what they are doing in their own home communities to help educate, inspire, and be a voice for change. To encourage and celebrate their work, we wanted to showcase these stewardship ideas to the world and ignite a passion for environmental stewardship in students from all over BC. 

To do so,  Raincoast Conservation Foundation partnered with Take A Stand: Youth for Conservation to create the 2021 Student Innovation Challenge

2021 Student Innovation Challenge

We asked students in grades 3-12 to let us know what they have been doing to help create positive change in their local community. Submissions came in the form of videos, short presentations, and artwork. They were judged by a team of scientists, film makers, and media specialists, including Misty MacDuffie, Lauren Eckert, and Alex Harris (all affiliated with Raincoast), along with Nic Teichrob and Fernando Lessa of Take A Stand: Youth for Conservation.

We received six multi-participant entries, collectively engaging seventy-six students within Grades 3 to 12. The judges were wowed by all the entries, and were pleased to present an award to each entry this year. 

The Grand Prize Winner of this year’s Student Innovation Contest was awarded to director Arian Tomar and producer Viggo Henelius of Pearson College UWC. Arian and his producer Viggo won for their incredible film “Canaries of the Coast”.

Four students standing on a rock viewing a lot of sea lions.
Film still from the award winning film,“Canaries of the Coast”

The film focuses on Pedder Bay, a place that looks pristine at first glance, but appears differently when you look under its surface. 

Children's drawing of a young girl reading a book that has an ocean scene with lots of marine wildlife.
Highland Elementary student Jackson P.produced this incredible artwork.
A group of students standing in front of garden boxes holding gardening tools.
PSII Students and Teachers (including M.Plewes, far right) at work on the retaining wall for their school garden.

The award for Best Creative Expression was given to the Highland Elementary Grade 5 Class for their colorful and imaginative Salmon Art project. Each piece beautifully told the story of salmon’s importance to our environment and how it acts as the base for coastal rainforest ecosystems to thrive.

Young man sitting in an estuary.
Still from the short film “The Estuary” by Skyridge Montessori.
Two young people wearing salmon costumes in a classroom.
Still from the short film “Salmon Savers” by Stoney Creek Community School.
Children's drawing of a salmon jumping over a rainbow.
Highroad Academy Student Ony H. produced this amazing salmon artwork.

The award for Best Overview of a Critical Habitat was given to Skyridge Montessori school for their film submission titled “The Estuary”. 

The film explores the three main rivers that empty into the Squamish Estuary, and familiarizes viewers with some of the amazing organisms that live within them. It also describes the brackish water conditions that create the unique environment of the estuary. 

The award for Most Creative Community Initiative was awarded to Stoney Creek Community School, specifically to a group of students known as The Salmon Savers. The Salmon Savers produced a short film that highlighted a  rain garden to safeguard salmon habitat, as well as showcasing some of the art and acting activities that the students have been working on recently.

The Future Stewards Award was presented to the Highroads Academy for their beautiful and colorful salmon artwork. The judges saw huge artistic potential in these beautiful pieces, and are confident that these artists have what it takes to inspire others.

All the  video entries from this year’s contest are available for viewing at the Take A Stand: Youth for Conservation website. 

The past year has been a difficult one. It has been hard to feel hopeful and inspired to make the world a better place. This makes these artistic submissions all the more important and impressive.

Asta Mail, Education Coordinator of Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and Allison Kermode, SFU Professor Emeritus and Director of Take a Stand, who together launched, coordinated, and celebrated the contest with winning youth entrants, look forward to partnering for future contests.   

Both Raincoast and Take a Stand thank all the participants for sharing their stories, passion, and progress with us. The heart and creativity students demonstrated was compelling and inspiring.

We look forward to seeing what these incredible future stewards create next!

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For 25 years, Raincoast has been furthering biodiversity conservation in BC. Thanks to your generous donations, among many other accomplishments, we have been able to end commercial trophy hunting of large carnivores in over 38,000 square kilometers of the Great Bear Rainforest, begin acquiring forest land in order to protect threatened Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems, aid recovery of endangered Southern Resident killer whales by restoring Chinook salmon habitat, and establish a university research lab dedicated to applied conservation science. Strong partnerships are integral to our success.

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