How to Participate in the Streets to the Sea Challenge
Note: There will be no Streets to the Sea Challenge in the 2012-2013 school year.
Joining the Streets to the Sea Challenge means students will come together to organize, research, create a campaign, implement the campaign, record results, and get recognition. Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Build a Team
The first step in participating in the Streets to the Sea Challenge is to form a team. Your team may be students from a particular class, from a school environmental club or from a student service club. The team MUST have an adult advisor (teacher, administrator or principal associated with the school). Once your team has been established, the advisor registers your school through the Generation Earth website.
- Investigate Water Pollution at Your School
Now it is time to investigate the school campus. The Challenge requires teams to conduct a watershed audit. An audit is a simple survey that will identify how water flows across the campus and potential pollutants that may be picked up as part of the water flow. Based on the results of the audit, trouble areas on the school campus are identified by the team. Generation Earth's Water Audit can be downloaded here, or you may contact our office to receive a hard copy. If you need assistance in conducting the campus water audit or understanding water pollution trouble areas, contact our office and staff will be available for consultation.
- Create Your Campaign
Once the trouble areas on the school grounds have been identified, it is time to select a focus for your public education campaign. Your focus may be on a particular area within the school or on a particular pollutant. This will vary with each school. The only requirement is that it is relevant to your school and linked to the findings in the audit.
It is a good idea to review the Streets to the Sea Challenge competition application forms as well as the campaign score card before developing your campaign. After all, if you know what questions you'll need to answer and how your work will be evaluated, you can better target your campaign.
Now it's time for inspiration! Developing a creative campaign requires some imagination and thought. It is a good idea to create a short list of key messages as the foundation for your campaign. What do you want your audience to know, and most importantly, what action do you want them to take? Who is the audience at your school – students, faculty and/or local residents? Once you know your key messages and your audiences, you can determine what to say and where to say it to make the biggest impact.
So what are your creative themes and how you will deliver them? Consider all of the avenues available at your school. Do you have assemblies, a school newspaper or website? How does your school inform the entire population about events on campus? Remember, you want as many students as possible to become responsible stewards of the campus watershed so don't overlook any opportunity. Based on your research, develop a plan to get the word out. The campaign you develop may consist of a single lunch-time outreach event or may occur over a period of weeks. The length of the campaign is determined by your team.
The only requirement is that the campaign must be completed in time to submit the competition application forms and a campaign portfolio to Generation Earth by the deadline.
- Sound Off and Spread the Word
Put your campaign plan into action. As you kick off your campaign, celebrate your efforts and remember to document your hard work by taking pictures, videos or documenting student testimonials. Have fun and be creative. You know your audience – deliver a campaign that will make impact!
- Assessing the Effectiveness of the Campaign
After you have delivered your campaign throughout the school, it's time to look back and see if your efforts have resulted in increased awareness of water pollution issues on your campus and identify any positive changes on the school grounds. Look back at the original audit and evaluate the troubled areas documented in the original audit. Can you identify any changes to those problems? How many students attended your events or were reached through the campaign efforts? Did your message "stick" with them – and how do you know that it did? Collect as much information as you can to assess the effectiveness of your campaign.
- Share Your Experience and Receive Recognition
All teams must submit the Streets to the Sea Challenge competition application forms and a campaign portfolio to Generation Earth. Based on review of application forms and portfolios, the top 10 school teams will be selected to attend a recognition event. Each school team will select four to five students to attend the event. These students will prepare a table display documenting their campaign and will present their experience to their peers. Students will become part of the judging panel to determine which schools will be the Grand Prize winners and two Grand Prize winners–one middle and one high school–will be selected. All schools attending will receive recognition from the Generation Earth program.
For more information contact Mary Dotson by e-mail or by phone at (818) 623-4883.