Vanderhoof students collaborate with UNBC on mini-documentary film to tell story of water monitoring on Murray Creek

For Immediate Release

Stream Monitoring for Change in SD91” to screen on March 15th at the Reel Alternatives Film Event in Vanderhoof

Three high-school students from the Nechako Valley Secondary School, working alongside a research assistant from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) have recently completed a short film documenting their school’s stream monitoring program. The short film, titled: Stream Monitoring for Change in School District 91, will be premiered at 7 pm at the Nechako Valley Secondary School on March 15th at an event put on by the Reel Alternatives film group. The film tells a story about stream restoration and the connectedness of the environment and community health in Vanderhoof, B.C., while also capturing water monitoring that took place on Murray Creek this past fall with Grade 8 and 9 students.

Jordan Cranmer, a grade twelve student and the student lead on the project remarks, “This project has been about following a story that you didn’t know from the beginning, it has helped me learn so much and realize how connected I am to my community.” Grade twelve students Chris Penner and Sydney Seymour, the video, editing and sound production crew, will be using this film for their application to the Digital Film-making program at Kelowna’s Centre for Arts and Technology. Ella Parker, a Mitacs Career Connect Intern with UNBC’s Integrated Watershed Research Group (IWRG), graduated from the Rivershed Society of BC’s (RSBC) Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP) in 2018 – this film is her completed SLLP community sustainability project. Ella was overseeing the project and says, “The video camera became a tool that allowed students to ask questions about their environment and their community, and through this process, they landed on a really meaningful and relevant narrative about the importance of our connections to our waterways. The student film crew has done an amazing job of bringing this narrative to life through the filming and editing stages of the project.”

The stream monitoring program was established in 2017 as a collaborative pilot project between UNBC, School District 91 and the Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Society. The program satisfies curriculum requirements through experiential learning while simultaneously increasing student awareness and activism on local environmental and community health issues. Casey Litton, the teacher championing the program at the Nechako Valley Secondary School, has a vision the waterways monitoring program will, “enhance student investment in their school and community, and allow them to become stewards of the future.”

Teachers and community members interviewed in the film speak to the impacts the stream monitoring program is already having on the school and the community. Mia Moutray, a Science Teacher at the Nechako Valley Secondary says, “This program has given students, teachers and different departments an opportunity to collaborate and see a greater purpose in education, while also learning about our place.” Also interviewed in the film, Wayne Salewski, Chair of the Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Society says, “Fifty percent of kids in School District 91 live in the country, so they are the influence that will take this message home to mom and dad. That is where the stewardship change will come from, it will be driven from the kids upward.”

The project has provided impetus for an expanded, long-term collaboration called “Koh-Learning in our Watersheds”, which was launched on February 25th this year. The new phase of the project will focus on connecting integrative science, Aboriginal education and more active collaborations with community and research initiatives across School District 91. By distributing the film widely, Parker and Cranmer hope that it will inspire more schools to create opportunities for students to learn about waterway and community connections.

This film project was made possible thanks to student volunteer hours, and through Parker’s internship, funded federally through the Mitacs Career Connect Program and UNBC’s IWRG. Funding was also obtained through the Rivershed Society of British Columbia (RSBC), a non-profit charitable organization with a mission to protect, conserve and restore the health of BC riversheds. RSBC works with numerous watershed stewardship groups, First Nations, government and community leaders throughout the Fraser River Basin and British Columbia. More information is available at: http://rivershed.com.

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More information about Ella Parker’s film project, Stream Monitoring for Change in School District 91.

The Sustainable Living Leadership Program, now in it’s fifteenth year, is seeking applicants for the 2019 trip. Anyone with an interest in sustainability and community development is encouraged to apply. To qualify, participants must be 19 years of age or older and physically fit. Community volunteer experience is an asset. The application deadline is April 30th.  www.rivershed.com/SLLP

About the Fraser River: The Mighty Fraser runs 1,370 km from its headwaters near Mount Robson into the Georgia Strait at Vancouver, making it the longest river in British Columbia. It drains 21 million hectares, more than a quarter of British Columbia. It is one of the largest salmon-producing riversheds in the world, as well as a life-giving force to the province’s economy.

About the Rivershed Society of BC: RSBC is a non-profit charitable organization with a mission to protect, conserve and restore the health of BC riversheds in this generation. RSBC comprises a voluntary board of directors, a small staff, annual programs and events, and many volunteers, members and donors. RSBC works with numerous watershed stewardship groups, First Nations, government and community leaders throughout the Fraser River Basin and British Columbia. More information at: www.rivershed.com

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mitacs Intern
Integrated Watershed Research Group
University of Northern British Columbia