Trash to Treasure

Marine Debris Art Contest

August 15, 2022 - November 1, 2022

Marine Debris Floating in Ocean (left) and Debris at Magee Wildlife Area near Oak Harbor, OH (right).
Marine Debris Floating in Ocean (left). Debris at Magee Wildlife Area near Oak Harbor, OH (right). Photos: NOAA.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is hosting its first ever marine debris art contest. Students and families are encouraged to participate by collecting local marine debris and creating artwork with it - turning trash into treasure!

To Participate:

Safely collect marine debris from a local beach. Collect as much of it as you can; it can be any shape, size, or material.

Take the marine debris home with you and sort through it. Make sure to clean and thoroughly dry the debris that you are planning to use for your art project.

Create a masterpiece! Your artwork can be a painting, collage, sculpture, or anything you can think of. However, it must consist of at least 50% marine debris.

Submit photos of your artwork online here.
Entries should be submitted as high-resolution digital images – jpg or tiff formats preferred.

The deadline to submit artwork is November 1, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) HST.

Winning entries will be announced in November, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the sanctuary and the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Crab made of marine debris (left). Cornucopia made of marine debris (right).
Crab made of marine debris, by Charles-Antoinne Vallieres, displayed at Hawaiʻi Wildlife Discovery Center (left). Photo: NOAA/Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sacntuary. Marine Debris Collected on Alaskan Beaches displayed in Anchorage museum (right). Photo: NOAA.


Through support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the first, second, and third place winners will be awarded the prizes listed below. Then, a pool of eight to 10 honorable mentions will be chosen.

  • 1st Place - Underwater Digital Camera
  • 2nd Place - Snorkel Set complete with fins, a mask, snorkel, & de-fog.
  • 3rd Place: Arts & Crafts Kit
  • Honorable Mention: Family passes to various centers & experiences or $50 gift card depending on island of residence.
  • Option for school group winners: Classroom pizza party or gift card for teacher.


  • There is no age limit.
  • All submitted works must be entirely original.
  • Works must be made from at least 50% marine debris or more.
  • Participants under the age of 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian to enter the contest and submit the entry form.
  • Entries must be submitted as high resolution photographs that clearly depict the art from several angles. Jpg or tiff formats are preferred. Maximum file upload size is 100 MB.
  • Each participant is limited to two entries.

Additional Contest Rules and Use of Images

By submitting an image of your artwork, you are agreeing to all the requirements above and rules of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Marine Debris Art Contest:

  • We will assume that, in submitting a photo, you are the owner of the photo and have the right to publish it (including permissions or a likeness or profile release for anyone identifiably pictured).
  • By submitting a photo, you are giving us permission to use the photo for other purposes, such as on our website, on social media, and in other NOAA and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation publications. We will provide credit to the artist/photographer whenever we use any of the photos. Organizations other than NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation may use the photographs submitted in this contest to promote sustainable and responsible activities such as recreation within the National Marine Sanctuary System. These photos are not for sale and are not for commercial use unless prior permission is arranged.
  • Winning artwork will be shared on NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary website and social media (including, but not limited to, Facebook and Twitter). Artwork may also be displayed at local libraries or sanctuary sites throughout Hawai’i.
  • Read and agree to the Office of National Marine Sanctuary’s Privacy Statement at:
  • Credit for students will include first name, last initial, grade, and school (if space allows). If students do not want their names posted, please tell us in the entry form.
  • Be aware of copyright rules. Copyrighted images can be used for inspiration but should not be reproduced. All work should be original to the artist.

We look forward to seeing your amazing artwork!