Documerica Returns!

By Jeanethe Falvey

This week, National Archives and EPA launched a contest that I wish I could enter myself. I could, if I change my name, age, birth date and occupation, but since that would be frowned upon I’ll stick to what I’m doing behind the scenes.

Unlike those of us excitedly working on this project, students ages 13 to 18 plus college or graduate school students CAN participate. If you know any, I encourage you to get their attention and pass along that now is the time for them to get inspired about their environment! Stand on a tree trunk if that’s what it takes (See Lorax).

Ordinarily and this is speaking from experience, when the younger generation becomes more in touch with their surroundings and the state of the planet, that heightened state of eco-awareness comes with a sense of “green-powerment.” You may find they come home from school rolling their eyes at you even more than usual if you toss away recyclable goods, or forget those re-usable shopping bags or leave the water running (they may have a point sometimes). They mean well. Regardless of the manner in which they communicate this newfound knowledge, in many cases they feel good doing so, especially when their friends are doing the same.

Right now, there is an opportunity for that energy and their creativity to be part of an international project, recognized by renowned judges and exhibited around the United States. On top of that, the grand prize for this contest will be $500, courtesy of the Foundation for the National Archives.

From now until January 6, 2011 “Document Your Environment” invites students to create any type of graphic art, a short video, or a poem using a Documerica photo as a prompt. Finalists and the grand prize winner will be announced in February 2012.

Contest judges include: former Documerica photographer and graphic artist Michael Philip Manheim; Cokie Roberts, author and news analyst for National Public Radio and ABC News; Sandra Alcosser, the first Poet Laureate of Montana and professor of poetry at San Diego State University. Of the nine finalists, one grand prize winner will be chosen by the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero.

About the author: Jeanethe Falvey, State of the Environment project-lead at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Boston, Massachusetts.

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