National River Cleanup® 2021 Photo Contest Official Rules


These are the official rules that govern how American Rivers’ NRC Photo Contest promotion will operate. This promotion will be simply referred to as the “Contest” throughout the rest of these rules. In these rules, “we” “our” and “us” refer to American Rivers, the sponsor of the Contest. “You,” “yourself,” “I,” “me,” and “my” refers to an eligible Contest entrant.


This is a skill-based Contest. The object of this Contest is to submit photos taken at cleanup locations and with volunteers of any cleanup registered with American Rivers’ National River Cleanup program during calendar year 2021. For purpose of this Contest, each photo submitted in the Contest must be submitted during the Entry Period (see below) and will be called an “entry.” Entry eligibility will be determined using the criteria in Paragraph 4. All eligible entries received will be judged using the criteria in Paragraph 7, and the judges will select 10 finalists for each photo category from whom the winners will be selected by online voting of American Rivers’ membership and visitors to the American Rivers website.

2. What are the start and end dates?

This Contest starts at 12:01 AM Pacific Time on December 27, 2021 and ends at 11:59 PM Pacific Time January 14, 2022. This will be referred to as the Entry Period throughout the rest of these rules. Entries must be received within the Entry Period to be eligible. Any received outside of those dates will be disqualified.

American Rivers reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s) as the result of causes beyond its immediate control.

3. Can You enter?

You are eligible to enter this Contest if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a legal resident of the United States (including the District of Columbia), and you are least 18 years of age or older at the time of entry; and
  • You are NOT an employee of American Riversand
  • You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest; and
  • You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of an American Rivers employee or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.

This Contest is void outside the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.

4. What constitutes an eligible entry?

To be eligible for judging, an entry must meet the following content / technical requirements:

  • Image must be of non-offensive material.
  • Subjects of photo must be in proper “cleanup” dress including, wearing face masks, closed-toe shoes, and life vest if in boats on water.
  • All photographs must be from a cleanup event that took place during calendar year 2021.
  • All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. Images that do not meet these requirements may or may not be judged at the judging panel’s sole discretion.
  • Photo entries should be in the following file formats: JPEG, PDF, TIFF, or EPS.

In addition:

  • Your entry must be your own original work; and
  • Your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and
  • You must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry, such as model or location releases (such releases must be provided upon request); and
  • Your entry must not otherwise violate the rights of any other person or company by using their trademarks, music, logos, names or images without their express written consent.

Cleanup photos of individuals wearing face masks according to jurisdictional requirements are welcome!

5. How will my entry be potentially used?

Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry. Your photo will be credited with the caption “© Entrant’s Name.” However, by submitting your entry, you are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; (ii) publish the entry for American River’s online and printed publications, including on our website. Publications or presentations can include but are not limited to newsletters, brochures, fundraising appeals, public service announcements, grant proposals, reports, awards, thank-you cards, displays, mailings and invitations, and (iii) feature your entry and all its content in connection with the promotion of this Contest in all media (now known or later developed). You agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us to make use of the rights you granted above; understand and acknowledge that we may have developed or commissioned materials similar to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry; understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law; understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules. Please note that following the end of this Contest your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website. We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website. While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry.

If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Contest.

6. How do you submit your entry?

To submit your entry, go to and click Photo Contest and fill out the entry form information and upload up to 10 photos from your registered cleanup for any of the three photo categories.

We will only accept up to 30 entries per person and e-mail address. In other words, two people may not enter using the same email address – you each must enter using a unique email address. We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason. We will automatically disqualify:

(1) Any incomplete or illegible entry; and

(2) Any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the entry limit described above..

(3) The entry must not, in our sole and unfettered discretion, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content.

7. How will entries be judged?

A panel of judges will review all eligible entries received and select 10 finalists based upon the following criteria:

50%- subject matter

35%- meets all qualifications

15%- Promotion of American Rivers and/or National River Cleanup’s name, logo, and/or brand

The decisions of these judges are final and binding. You could be chosen to be a finalist in multiple categories, but you can only win in one category. If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries fulfilling all elements of the criteria during the contest, we may, at our discretion, choose not to select any finalist or winner or to select fewer than 10 finalists for each photo category from whom the winner will be selected by American Rivers’ members. In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, the tie will be broken by an additional judge who will judge the tied entries based on the criteria listed above.

8. What is/are the prize(s)?

The photo with the most votes in each category will be posted on the National River Cleanup® home page and will appear in selected publications of American Rivers.

9. How will you know if you’re a winner?

On or around January 18, 2022, we will select up to 10 potential finalists for each category based on the criteria above. Visitors to American Rivers’ website and American Rivers’ membership will have the opportunity to select their favorite from the finalists in an online vote. If you are chosen as a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) listed on your entry within seven (7) days following the selection. If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award the prize to an alternate randomly selected winner. If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Contest, or the person residing at the mailing address listed on your mail-in entry. If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an affidavit of eligibility, liability/publicity release and W-9 form. If you do not sign and return these required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select an alternate randomly selected winner.

10. What other conditions are you are agreeing to by entering this Contest?

By entering this Contest you agree and/or understand that:

By entering this Contest you agree and/or understand that:

(1.) To abide by these Official Rules;

(2.) To the extent allowed by law, to release and hold harmless

American Rivers, its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Contest or any prize won;

(3.) That American Rivers’ decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Contest; and

(4.) That American Rivers may use your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Contest, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.

(5.) American Rivers may make modifications to your photo for printing purposes or clarification. We will work to stay true to the original photo if any changes are made.

(6.) This Contest will be governed by the laws of the District of Columbia, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the District of Columbia for any disputes arising out of this Contest.

11. What if something unexpected happens and the Contest can’t run as planned?

If someone cheats, or a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Contest, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Contest. This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Contest, we reserve the right to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Contest.

Computer “hacking” is a crime. If you attempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Contest by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Contest, so please play fairly.

12. How can you find out who won?

We will post the names of confirmed winner online after February 15, 2022at This list will remain posted until May 1, 2022.

– OR –

If you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address below on or before March 5, 2022, we will provide you with a list of winners that received a prize.

American Rivers, Attn: NRC Photo Contest (WINNER), 1101 14th St, NW, Suite 1400, Washington, DC 20005.

13. Who is sponsoring this Contest?

American Rivers is the sponsor of this Contest.