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Civil Rights News | Jan. 9, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard is Helping Engage Youth in Marine Environment Protection

By Eddie Stoker, Partnership in Education program manager, Special Emphasis, & Awards Programs Civil Rights Directorate

Did you know that across the country, members of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) are supporting the communities in which they live and work through the Partnership in Education (PIE) Program? This program allows the Coast Guard workforce to engage with schools in order to promote the educational achievement of youth through tutoring, mentoring, and promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

One of the simplest ways in which active duty, reservist, auxiliary, and other members of the USCG family are helping promote STEM and the protection of marine environments is through the arts, specifically by working with teachers in classrooms to promote learning and engage students in the annual North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) Student Art Contest. Every year NAMEPA, the USCG, and the Inter-American Committee on Ports of the Organization of the American States (CIP-OAS) sponsors an art contest for students in grades K-12 to depict through art, innovative and sustainable maritime industry practices to protect the planet and the ocean from the impact of shipping.

This year, students are encouraged to submit an original poster that depicts preventing marine pollution as the official theme is "MARPOL at 50- Preventing Marine Pollution.” This theme recognizes the importance of the MARPOL Convention (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships).  The Convention was established 50 years ago in 1973 in the aftermath of the Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967, which had a devastating impact on the marine environment. 

The art contest is open to students living in the Americas (North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean). Students living outside the Americas are also welcomed to apply, provided they have one or more parents on active duty with the USCG. The submission period is now open and NAMEPA is accepting artwork until April 1, 2023.

Twelve entries (six from grades K–5 and six from grades 6–12) will be selected as finalists.  The winning artwork will be featured on NAMEPA, USCG, and CIP-OAS websites. Finalists will receive a certificate and a calendar with the winning artwork.  Two grand-prize winning artists (one from each of the grade brackets) will also receive a $100 cash prize and a USCG prize package.

To learn more about the NAMEPA Student Art Contest, including contest rules, how to enter, and artwork specifications, visit the NAMEPA Art Contest Page. Please contact the national USCG Partnership in Education Program Manager, Edward Stoker, at (202) 372-4519 or