NARA and EPA Launch Documerica-Inspired Student Multimedia Contest
Press Release · Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Document Your Environment" Contest Runs Through January 6, 2012

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Follow the contest on using hashtag #Documerica

Washington, DC…The National Archives in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the launch of a student multimedia contest, “Document Your Environment”. Drawing inspiration from a collection of environmental photos from the 1970s, this contest invites students ages 13 to 18 as well as college and graduate students to create any type of graphic art, a short video, or a poem using a Documerica photo as a prompt. The grand prize for this contest will be $500, courtesy of the Foundation for the National Archives. The contest is hosted on, the federal government's online challenge platform. Entries will be accepted from November 1, 2011 to January 6, 2012. View contest details online at:

Finalists and the grand prize winner will be announced in February 2012. Finalists may be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the National Archives and a traveling exhibit with the EPA.

“Document Your Environment” contest categories are:
Graphic Art:  This category covers any type of graphic art, including scans of paintings, photos, cartoons, photo mash-ups, etc. All entries must be sent as .jpgs, and high resolution (300 dpi) copies must be available.
Video:  This category can include documentary-like videos and more artistic approaches to the contest. All entries must be less than two minutes in length. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and entered into the contest with a link to the video.
Poetry:  Any form of poetry is accepted in this category, but there is a 300 word limit to each entry. Poems must be submitted in either a PDF or Word doc format.

Contest judges include: Graphic Art category, former Documerica photographer and graphic artist Michael Philip Manheim; video category, Cokie Roberts, author and news analyst for National Public Radio and ABC News; and Poetry category, 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.


In the 1970s, the EPA commissioned freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the seventies. This project, called Documerica can now be found at the National Archives, which has digitized more than 15,000 images. Today, the EPA has continued the spirit of Documerica with their recent photo project, State of the Environment. EPA put out a global call for photos that document our environment today. The EPA photo project kicked off on Earth Day 2011 and will continue accepting submissions until Earth day 2012. The winning photos may also be featured, along with the National Archives "Document Your Environment" winners, in an upcoming exhibit at the National Archives and a traveling exhibit with the EPA.

Documerica Photos on National Archives Flickr photostream []

Documerica photos online in National Archives Online Public Access (OPA) []

Environmental Protection Agency's State of the Environment Project []

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Follow the contest on using hashtag #Documerica


This page was last reviewed on January 30, 2013.
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