Make Waves with Project Blue Planet to Save the Oceans 9/27/2010

It is easy to feel small in face of large environmental problems, especially with the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which continues to threaten wildlife and habitats. Project Blue Planet, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo, is a way that children can make a difference in the midst of environmental threats. Middle schoolers can form an ecoteam to learn about marine conservation science, educate classmates and inspire them to take action for a healthier school yard and planet.

Project Blue Planet is a nationwide contest that challenges students to encourage their schools and communities to improve the environment for marine life. The winners earn a “Seal” of Approval and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Zoo’s seal and sea lion exhibit.

There are four ways a team can achieve a “Seal” of Approval. Students can focus their project on either eliminating waste, reducing energy use, creating a healthier environment, or improving lifestyle choices. These categories are listed on along with advice from the National Zoo’s Green Team on actions students could use in their project.

Along with the project, students will need to submit the following:

  • Research on at least one marine species, showing how the project benefits sea life.
  • Description of how the project educates others.
  • Documentation of up to 10 photos and/or a link to a video (five minutes maximum).

To be eligible, projects have begun and must end by April 30, 2011. Winners will be announced in June 2011. Judges will consist of representatives from the National Zoo’s Green Team, Whole Foods Market, and the Officer Snook Water Pollution Program. Entries will be judged on how the project affects human activity on a marine species, how the project educates others, how well the project progressed over the school year, and creativity.

The grand prize includes airfare and hotel for four students and two adults to experience a behind the scene tours at the Zoo.

Honorable mentions in each category will receive a Zoo sea lion adoption package and prizes from Whole Foods Market and Officer Snook.

To start a project today, visit for more details, ideas, and registration forms.

Project Blue Planet is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, Kiwi Magazine, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Officer Snook Water Pollution Program.