SALT LAKE CITY - The results are in. And the Department of Environmental Quality has announced the top three winners of its YouTube video contest that highlighted ozone pollution in 30 seconds.
The contest, which ran in May, sought talented YouTubers to submit 30-second videos featuring ozone - an invisible gas formed when vehicle exhaust or other emissions mix with sunlight and heat. The rules were simple: show how ozone is formed, or how impacts health, or what people can do to prevent it. Narrowing down the 11 submissions to five was no easy task.
"Watching all of them was fantastic," said Amanda Smith, executive director of DEQ. "I was very pleased by the response, especially by the fact that young adults and teens are engaged in this very important issue of air quality."
Over 500 people scored their favorites from the five finalists.
Jason Girouard of Brimfield, Massachusetts won first for capturing the many things people can do to prevent ozone in: "Let's Conserve Energy"
Girouard found out about Utah's contest through onlinevideocontest.com.
"I realized that this contest was perfect for me," he said. "I love to not only inform the people of Utah and any other states that happen to see this about ozone issues, but also about how they can help. ... I look forward to working with DEQ to make my video public and seen across Utah; together I think we can make a difference."
Travis Thurston of Bountiful came in second place but his two boys won the hearts of many for: "We Like Clean Air."
Thurston couldn't be more pleased.
"Air quality is an important issue to our family, because we love to recreate outdoors. My wife and I want to provide the best environment possible for our children, and we can all do our part in improving the air quality here in Utah," he said. "We enjoyed participating in the DEQ video contest, and appreciate how the participants involved made positive comments on other videos posted.
Jordan Kocherhans of Highland was third with an entertaining look at how we don't have to go to extremes to prevent ozone in: "Alternate Transportation."
"I have made other random videos in the past, but this one made me think about a pressing issue a little bit more: the air quality in Utah. I thought back to that really smoggy month early this year, and thought about how we couldn't afford to emit too much ozone into the air, given the geographical shape of this valley. Anything put out seems to sink, and stay. Maybe other places can get away with it, but not this particular area of Utah," Kocherhans said. "My ultimate message was that by simple means you could be green, in a valley that sorely needs it."
The winners received the top cash prizes, while all the qualified participants will get their 30 seconds of fame when the videos will be used for educational purposes.