V. Action

During week 11 of the semester, our students shot footage for the film while in residency at Olympic Park Institute, parallel to being involved in the regularly scheduled Elwha Project field science activities. The students’ service-learning was a continuation of the activities they had learned last year: measuring water temperature and flow, dissolved oxygen levels, pH, and turbidity; doing transects for pebble counts and vegetation; and identifying and counting macro invertebrates as indicators of the health of the watershed.

Fortunately, we were able to find additional grant money to underwrite the services of our BITV mentor so that he could be at OPI with us all five days. Keeping in mind their three-pronged focus of “science, culture, and ‘us’,” the students carefully planned out what they would need to shoot. OPI bent over backwards to set up special guests for the kids to meet and interview.

On Monday, our first day, after doing field science studies at Freshwater Bay on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, west of the mouth of the river, we drove to the Lower Elwha Dam, to interview Rob Elofson, Tribal River Restoration Liaison, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

On Tuesday evening, we were given a program by Elaine Grinnell, a storyteller and elder with the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe.

Wednesday morning found us at the Glines Canyon Dam on Lake Mills talking to Josh Smith, a native plant researcher.
Later that day we heard Lower Elwha Klallam cultural history from LaTrisha Suggs.

On Thursday, the kids gave up their rec time to gain an invaluable interview with OPI’s own Darek Staab, Field Research Project Manager.

Finally, on Friday, we sat in a yurt next to the river, hearing from Josephine Pedersen, an 80 year-old settler who has lived on the Elwha most of her life, including her childhood.

In addition to the planned interviews, students shot footage of their field science studies and their free time, as well as other interesting activities such as canoeing on Lake Crescent and the Elwha Town Meeting Debate, which OPI set up with our students partnering with West Seattle High School students, who were also in residency the same week. These shots were supplemented when we returned home with reflective interviews that our students did with each other.

The following weeks of the semester were filled with editing rough cuts, applying audio and sound effects, creating titles and credits, and doing the final cut. Student artists in the group agreed to use their artwork for the introduction, the titles and credits, to give the film some extra style. Many long hours, including several all-day sessions on Saturdays, were put into the post-production work, most of which was done at BITV headquarters, using their professional equipment.

Students rotated up to BITV as their job services were needed, while other students remained in class. During this period, the Language Arts teacher had to be pretty creative and flexible with assignments, to keep expectations balanced for students spending a great deal of time at BITV with those who had less to do.

During this time, our students visited the Odyssey grade 3-4 classroom, who had recently been to OPI. The purpose of these sessions was to share and compare experiences at OPI. Our EHHS students helped third and fourth graders understand the kinds of scientific experiments our students had chosen to do. This worked well, because the elementary students were now familiar with the Elwha site and could therefore visualize more easily the work our students had done.

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