Contest is open to students in 5th through 12th grades

By Louis Medina, FOI Communications Director

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is organizing a photo contest for students in grades five through twelve to improve understanding of how climate change is affecting the western United States.

The theme of the contest is “Picture Climate Change” and the new deadline for submitting photos online is December 3 (the original deadline was November 15).

NOAA, whose mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts, share that knowledge and information with others, and conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources, wants to know, in photos, how climate change has impacted the contestants, their families, their communities and their schools. NOAA wants you to ask yourself, and then demonstrate photographically, “How has the landscape, the wildlife in your area, or your way of life changed due to climate change?”

Although participants can live in any U.S. state or territory, only photos taken in the western states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico will be accepted.

Each entry must include a photograph showing an example of climate change or a climate change impact in the western United States, as well as a 3-5 sentence description of the climate change or impact, from the contestant’s perspective. The works will be evaluated according to the impact of the photo, the creativity and relevance to the subject, and the written description (each student’s ability according to grade will be taken into consideration).

The contest categories include Nature, Water, Climate and Society. Examples are provided below to illustrate the types of problems within a given category, but photos need not be limited to these examples. Students can submit up to 5 entries (in total) in the following categories:

Nature: changes related to organisms and their environment (e.g., forest fires, desertification, crops, gardens, habitats and animal behavior).

Water: water-related changes (e.g., drought, sea level changes, water level changes in lakes or rivers, reservoirs, coastal changes, water quality, wetlands/swamps).

Climate: changes related to climatic events and weather patterns (e.g., extreme heat or cold, rain, snow, melting glaciers, melting permafrost, floods).

Society: Changes related to people and society, life and recreation (e.g., air quality, urban design or architecture, transportation, pedestrian accessibility, energy costs, lifestyle, parks, shade, health).

The winning photos will be featured next spring (2022) on the NOAA Western Region website along with responses developed by climate experts in this scientific and regulatory agency within the United States Department of Commerce.

For more information on the contest rules and to fill out the online entry form, visit

There is also information on that page for educators interested in incorporating this photo contest in the development of a climate curriculum for their students.

Questions? Write to

(This article has been translated into Spanish for publication in the November 18 issue of El Sol de la Sierra, Inyo and Mono Counties’ sole Spanish-language weekly.  It is a FREE publication, so please look for it later this week in businesses throughout the Eastern Sierra, or online at