Our Neighbors: High school seniors produce documentary ‘Under Pressure’

Original post from Models of Excellence | EL Education –  

The documentary Under Pressure was created by the 2019 senior class from Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield, MA and covers the September 2018  Merrimack Valley Columbia gas explosions and the natural gas industry in Massachusetts and nationally. The documentary film explores the complex truth of natural gas as an energy source as well as the struggles of local families and small businesses as they attempt to rebuild their lives after a disaster. The expedition spanned all four core classes and lasted from September to the film’s premiere at the Greenfield Garden Cinema in February 2019.

 

We asked the teacher

What was compelling for your students about this?
The most compelling aspects of this expedition were that the students themselves chose the topic of the film and that they were ultimately responsible for the quality of a film that they would show to a full theater here in Greenfield then distribute far and wide via the internet. They put their names and the name of the school on this product and many of them decided that they were not going to accept anything below what they thought was their best work.

What were the challenges?
Having 30 people make one movie was the biggest challenge. This was the most intense group work experience many of them had ever done. It’s not easy to have a conversation with your colleague about a difference in opinion about what’s best for the project or to point out when you don’t think they are doing their share, especially when you’re 17 years old. We build learning targets into our lessons to help address these challenges and see them as part of the learning but recognize that it’s still tough.

What makes this particular piece a model for other students?
Video is a medium that saturates our lives whether we like it or not. We are constantly bombarded by it but unless students take the time to learn what is behind these images and sounds they might not know how much effort it takes to produce a quality video of any length. This documentary shows other students what is possible with a small budget and equipment available at just about any community television station. There was so much thought and effort that went into our film, I can see future senior classes here at Four Rivers using this film as a model for everything from B-roll and archival footage use, to narration and script and storytelling.

What would be your advice to a teacher that is inspired by this project?
Give yourself plenty of time. The act of making a movie is a great motivating factor, and with a compelling story, the students will be engaged and driven to get the story out there. The hard part is getting the film done on time. A few years ago our movie finished exporting while folks were already in the theater, and since then we’ve gotten a little better each year about the timing, but it always takes more time than you think. To quote a professional filmmaker that our students work with, “finish the film. That’s the goal.”


Ask for a screening

Contact Cindy Mapes ([email protected]) from Mothers Out Front if your school or organization is interested in a screening the film, as the anniversary of the Merrimack Valley gas explosions is coming up.

In the news

Greenfield Recorder: High school seniors produce documentary ‘Under Pressure’
Consumers for Sensible Energy:

Resources: Energy Education and Management: A Foundation for Sustainable Schools and Districts

Original post from Green Schools National Network –  
Free Webinar: Energy Education and Management: A Foundation for Sustainable Schools and Districts
 
Monday September 23, 2019
4:00pm – 5:00pm ET
Hosted by our Western States Catalyst partners, this free webinar will focus on two exciting ways that energy can become a foundation for your sustainability initiatives. In the first half of this webinar, Tashanda Giles-Jones, from Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) in southern California, will share how her team used Energy as the Context for Deeper Learning. By leveraging local sustainability issues, ECS has developed a process that integrates field work, service-learning, and civic action to breath life into their curriculum and deepen learning. In the second half of this webinar, Ryder Delaloye, from Whitefish School District in Montana, will share how supporting teachers to Develop a Classroom Energy Management Plan has become an integral part of their District Energy Management Plan, using real-time data to benchmark and develop action plans that ensure the efficient use of resources in their schools. By engaging students in day-to-day operations and management, Whitefish has been able to save money, decrease its footprint, and increase student and faculty engagement.
This webinar is the first in GSNN’s new webinar series which will highlight best practices in green, healthy, and sustainable schools from our Catalyst Network partners.
The next webinar will be held on October 28, 2019 and will explore food systems. Up-to-date information on webinars and other GSNN events can be found on our Events Page.

10 tips for a successful Green Team

Original post from the Harvard Office for Sustainability – 

We asked members of our Green Team Leaders Network for their tips, advice, and tricks on running successful Green Teams. Here’s the top 10. Use these tips to help kick start a Green Team in your office, lab, or School.

1. Start Small

“Get together a small group and agree on achievable goals. The sense of accomplishment from reaching these goals will generate lots of momentum.”  –Claire Reardon, FAS Center for Systems Biology

2. Hold Regular Meetings

“Make sure to hold Green Team meetings on a regular basis (quarterly works best for our group). Hosting year-end and year-beginning celebrations is a good way to set “green goals” and a great time to check-in to make sure you’re meeting them/reporting progress to date. Celebrate both fiscal year-end and beginnings as well as calendar year-end and beginnings. That way you can involve your greater community in the updates, not just your Green Team.” –Kim Salley, Alumni Affairs and Development Green Team

3. Breakdown Borders

“Feel free to work on issues across departments, divisions, schools, and campuses. It can spread out the work load, encourage collaboration and learning, and is a fun way to meet people who are doing something similar or completely different from you.” –David Havelick, Harvard Longwood Campus EcoOpportunity Team

4. Involve Building Services

“If you don’t have them involved already, do whatever you can to get your Building Services leadership on board. Infrastructural projects that may never be seen by the public are the backbone of legitimate efforts. They allow for a more nuanced pitch to non-engaged citizens. Building Services can be instrumental in project approval/support, data collection and monitoring, as well as instituting wholesale changes that force behavioral change by occupants.” – John Aslanian, Graduate School of Design Green Team

Partnerships don’t stop at building services! Fostering strategic relationships and partnerships with departments across your School allows for broader communication and involvement in sustainability efforts. For example, as a result of partnering with Human Resources, many Schools have incorporated sustainability into their new hire orientations. 

5. Create Campaign Calendars

“Come up with a 12 month campaign schedule to focus on different sustainability topics each month. For example the Green Team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School dedicate March activities to water awareness and October to energy. This promotes sub-committee groups spurring off to spearhead specific activities related to the monthly themes.” –Allison Webster, Senior Sustainability Coordinator, Harvard Business School and Harvard Graduate School of Education

6. Encourage Project Ownership

“Brainstorm about priorities and interests and create subcommittees to work on certain projects and issues that are the most doable and the most popular among Green Team members.” –Harvard Longwood Campus EcoOpportunity Team

“One of things we have at Harvard Law School are subcommittees that are involved in their own projects. For example, I run the Waste Reduction subcommittee, and we also have committees for outreach and events.” –Carrie Ayers, Harvard Law School Green Team

7. Make it Fun

“Don’t take yourselves too seriously! Even though sustainability work addresses very serious concerns, you’ll get more active participation if you lighten the mood. The EcoOpportunity team is always trying to make the Longwood community laugh a little by putting cartoons, memes, and jokes in the stairwells during the Take the Stairs campaign, hanging an irreverent newsletter in the bathroom stalls, and holding a trivia night and the occasional happy hour.” –Caitlin Key Alfaro, Harvard School of Public Health

8. Communicate

“Create a newsletter, blog, Facebook page, etc. to get the word out about your events, resources and how people can get involved! The EcoOpportunity team sends out a monthly email newsletter, nicknamed the “EcoMosquitio,” that also hangs in bathroom stalls to spread the word about sustainability around campus.” –Katrina Rudnicki, Harvard Longwood Campus EcoOpportunity Team

9. Create Satellite Teams

“If your School has offices in buildings that are somewhat far away from the main parts of the campus, satellite green teams will help keep momentum going. The Longwood Campus EcoOpportunity Team has created satellite green teams at Smith Street, Tremont Street, and Landmark Center for their Campus.” –Jen Doleva Bowser, Harvard Longwood Campus EcoOpportunity Team

10. Show Appreciation

“ALWAYS recognize and show appreciation for your Green Team volunteers and members! We’ve connected with the School’s Human Resources department to create certificates for green team membership to go in each participant’s file and we encourage Green Team members to talk with their supervisor about their Green Team work so everyone is on the same page and recognizes their contribution and volunteer work.” Harvard Longwood Campus EcoOpportunity Team