December 11, 2018
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Local Student Wins Award for Poetry Submission in International Contest

Community Author: Anna Behuniak
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PORTLAND – Anna Behuniak, a student from King Middle School, has won a Silver award for her Poetry submission to the 2017 Ocean Awareness Student Contest, sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat). Behuniak, who was selected from the nearly 900 middle school entries from around the world, received a $750 cash award.

The 2017 Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Student Contest challenged students to create visual art, poetry, prose or film around the theme of “Ocean Pollution: Challenges & Solutions” to reflect on the impact of ocean pollution, inspire viewers to consider possible solutions and challenge them to take action. Behuniak’s poetry submission, titled “Perspectives,” addressed the specific issue of oceanic pollution caused by plastic waste and oil spills.

Since 2012, Bow Seat has run the international Ocean Awareness Student Contest – the largest youth arts and ocean advocacy competition in the world – in which students examine the connections between human activities and the health of our oceans through the creative arts. Nearly 7,000 teenagers worldwide have participated in the Ocean Awareness Student Contest since its inception, and Bow Seat has awarded more than $215,000 in scholarships to talented youth. In 2017, entries from 63 countries and 48 U.S. states were submitted.

By harnessing the power of creative media to educate, inspire, and activate younger generations, the Contest aims to create meaningful experiences that help participants not only to understand new concepts, but also to connect with ideas emotionally. Seventy-three percent of students reported that the Contest increased their knowledge about ocean pollution issues. Two-thirds stated that it impacted their worldview and the way they act in it, such as reducing their plastic consumption or joining a green team.

“Our talented and passionate Contest participants are collectively building a wave of awareness and empathy for our oceans by informing and inspiring others to take action,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “Together they are creating and amplifying a global voice of advocacy that is hard to ignore – and one that is more critical than ever as ocean pollution increasingly threatens aquatic life, our environment, the economy, and human health.

“Anna’s winning poetry submission demonstrates how the next wave of ocean leaders will think, and act, like artists – looking at issues from new perspectives, posing meaningful questions, and discovering innovative solutions,” continued Cabot.

The 2018 Ocean Awareness Student Contest, “Our Oceans in a Changing Climate,” is open now through June 18 to students ages 11-18 worldwide.

Besides sponsoring the annual Contest, Bow Seat seeks out opportunities to launch youth into the “artivist” world by expanding the reach of their work through exhibitions, publishing opportunities, and merchandise sales featuring their artwork. Bow Seat also serves as an educational resource on ocean conservation and creative advocacy by presenting at conferences, participating in local and global environmental initiatives, and providing classroom curriculum.

For a copy of Behuniak’s winning submission, please visit Bow Seat online or email

About Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs is a Boston-based nonprofit that works to inspire the next generation of ocean caretakers through education and engagement with the arts, science, and advocacy. Visit for more information, and follow Bow Seat on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @fromthebowseat.