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Last entry at 5 pm

School Coral Conservation Contest

A white wave shape.

Thank you for your interest in the Seattle Aquarium's Coral Conservation Contest for Schools. Registration is now closed; please check back in April to see our winners!

The Ocean Pavilion will enable people of all abilities and backgrounds to discover new corners of our one world ocean. In this new building, you’ll witness the exquisite biodiversity of a reef ecosystem in the Coral Triangle, a region far from our local waters that faces strikingly similar problems. You’ll come face-to-face with sharks, rays, schooling fish, mangroves, seagrasses and nearly 30 species of coral. These exceptional plants and animals will draw you into their world to deliver a profound message: By working to regenerate their homes, we’ll save our own. 

Coral reefs are among the most complex ecosystems on Earth and provide habitats for a tremendous diversity of life forms. They support approximately 25% of all known marine species—including over 4,000 species of fish, 700 species of coral, and thousands of other plants and animals. Many ocean animals that are instantly recognizable to school children, such as clownfish and reef sharks, depend on healthy coral reefs to survive.  

You and your students will be part of the Seattle Aquarium’s mission: Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. We need your help to tell the story of our one world ocean.

  • Students in grades kindergarten to fifth grade can enter the contest as a class.  
  • Submissions will be judged in three grade categories:
    • K–1  
    • 2–3
    • 4–5  
  • A class can be up to 40 students. There is no minimum number of students required for entry. Teachers with more than 40 students or multiple classes should create multiple entries.  
  • Homeschool classes are eligible for entry.  
  • Each class will be judged in the category of the grade of the oldest students participating.  
  • Classes must be based in Washington state.
  • Under the supervision of their teachers, students will create a submission related to the importance of conserving and protecting coral reefs.
  • The class will submit as one entry. Each entry can have multiple components.
  • A submission must meet the following criteria:  
    • It spreads awareness of the issues affecting coral reefs.
    • It displays knowledge of the importance of coral reefs and the amazing diversity of wildlife found within them.
    • It reaches as many people as possible. We recommend that submissions look beyond the classroom and involve the local community as much as possible.
    • It focuses on positive action to help coral reefs. We recommend projects that focus on hope for the future and include specific steps participants can take to help the ocean. The work of the Seattle Aquarium can be used as a guide.
  • Submissions can inspire participants through words, pictures, sounds and more. Creativity is encouraged! The following are examples of projects:
    • Poster campaign
    • Public service announcement video
    • Recorded song
    • Children’s book
    • Social media campaign
    • And more! Feel free to branch out.
  • The Seattle Aquarium does not recommend campaigns that focus on raising money for the Aquarium as part of the contest submission. This project should focus on spreading awareness of conservation efforts and coral reefs. Questions? Contact Aquarium staff.
  • Each registered class will be offered a scholarship-supported, free field trip to the Seattle Aquarium, available between November 2023 and February 2024. Some transportation scholarships will also be available to help offset the costs of busing classes to the Aquarium. This trip is not required for contest submission but should help inspire and delight students.
  • Registered teachers will receive a digital packet of information on coral reefs and other marine life, many of which will be found in the Ocean Pavilion.
  • Teachers will receive access to photos, videos, and more to share with their students and for use in their projects.
  • Teachers will be able to book free virtual Q&A classes with Aquarium experts to help them on their projects. These are not required but should be seen as a resource to help students with their contest entries.

Winning classes will receive the following:  

  • A special VIP experience at the Seattle Aquarium. (Classes unable to visit the Aquarium in person will receive a special virtual experience.)
  • A certificate for each student
  • A celebratory banner to hang at school
  • Recognition on the Seattle Aquarium website


  • November—February:  
    • Access to recorded virtual coral class
    • Live class Q&A with a Seattle Aquarium coral expert  
    • Self-guided visit to the Aquarium 
    • Downloadable resources to support student projects  
  • Registration for the contest closes on February 2, 2024.
  • Submissions are due by March 29, 2024.
  • Winners will be selected by April 26, 2024.
  • Prizes will be awarded by May 31, 2024.


Contest registration closed on February 2, 2024. Please check back in April to see our winners!

If you have questions, please email us at


Website maintenance

Please note: Our ticketing and membership systems will be offline for approximately two hours starting at 9pm Pacific on Tuesday, February 20. During the maintenance window, online ticketing and membership will not be available.

Thank you for understanding.

Support the Seattle Aquarium

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With your help, the Seattle Aquarium builds connections with our community to inspire conservation and curiosity for marine life. When you make an end-of-year gift by December 31, you'll be joining us in protecting our shared marine environment—now and for generations to come. Thank you!

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