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Capital High School students in Helena, Montana, recognized during online ceremony as Grand Prize winner of EPA ‘See a Bloom, Give it Room’ high school video challenge

Students receive $6,000 for video raising awareness about harmful algal blooms.

Contact Information: 
Laura Jenkins (

HELENA (April 23, 2020) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 Deputy Regional Administrator Deb Thomas recognized students and staff from Capital High School in Helena for winning the ‘See a Bloom, Give It Room’ High School Video Challenge.

The competition, supported by EPA’s Office of Research and Development, solicited videos from high school students (grades 9-12) that promoted public awareness of harmful algal blooms (HABs) through creative filmmaking.

“Through hard work, solid research, and creativity, these students produced a high quality, informative video that educates viewers about the dangers harmful algal blooms present to people and pets,” said EPA Region 8 Deputy Regional Administrator Deb Thomas. “I was excited to talk today with these students who have embraced and supported the EPA mission to protect human health and the environment through this challenge.”

Capital High School students Mikelle Ballard, Mariah Bogy, Kadyn Culp, Geri Cutler, Katlynn Fladland, Karina Frederick, Meghan Logan, Fallon Turner, Ady Vanluchene and Joseph Wadhams in Helena, Montana, won both the Region 8 Grand Prize ($4,000) and the Montana State Prize ($2,000) by showing us how dangerous harmful algal blooms can be to our pets and environment through a short film featuring the winning students.

Students were asked to create short public safety videos that explain how to spot harmful algal blooms and tips on how people and their pets can be safe around them. The contest was open to high school students in EPA Regions 7 and 8 states (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and 27 Tribal nations) and included students in public, private and homeschool programs.

Winning videos were highlighted at EPA HAB Conference in February, featured on EPA web and social media channels, and will used by the agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach efforts.


Certain environmental conditions in water bodies can intensify algae growth, causing algal blooms. Blooms with the potential to harm human health or aquatic ecosystems are referred to as harmful algal blooms or HABs. In freshwater systems, cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) are microorganisms that can produce HABs. Some cyanobacterial HABs, or cyanoHABs, can produce toxins. CyanoHABs and their toxins can harm people, animals, aquatic ecosystems, the economy, drinking water supplies, property values, and recreational activities, including swimming and commercial and recreational fishing.

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