CONTEST: Video contest promoting responsible wood burning

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring a video contest for professional and amateur filmmakers on Burn Wise, the agency’s campaign to help citizens reduce pollution from their fireplaces and other wood-burning appliances. With the theme “Learn Before You Burn,” the winning 30- or 60-second videos will promote responsible wood-burning techniques that can help citizens save money while making the air healthier to breathe.

Burning wood is a cheaper, natural heating option, but wood smoke is made up of a mixture of gases and fine particle pollution that isn’t healthy to breathe indoors or out – especially for children, older adults and those with heart disease, asthma or other lung diseases.

EPA challenges you to develop a short (30-second or 60-second) video that will show how to use wood stoves and fireplaces wisely – Burn Wise to protect your health and the environment from pollutants in wood smoke and save money by getting the most heat from the wood you burn.

Create a video that teaches the public these three basic steps to responsible wood burning. NO real fire may be used!

1. Burn the right wood. Save money and time. Burn only dry, seasoned wood and maintain a hot fire.
2. The right way. Keep your home safer. Have a certified technician install and annually service your appliance.
3. In the right appliance. Make your home healthier. Upgrade to an efficient, EPA-approved wood-burning appliance.

But wait, we’ve added a twist to the standard film contest!  Contestants must insert last minute criteria and post their work within 48-hours.  That’s not to say you can’t start on the storyline, film footage and other components before the 48-hours.

* Overall Winner- $2,500
* Second Place- $1000
* Third Place- $500
* Viewer’s Choice- $250 US Savings Bond

You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident to enter and win.

Find out more about the contest online by watching our YouTube video on the EPA channel (where you will also post your entry):

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 26th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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