Spreading the word
Environmental videos aimed at educating youth

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Resolute Bay ( May 15/00) - Ethan Sollows has found a new sense of purpose.

Involved in the production of environmental videos with fellow Qarmartalik school classmates in Resolute Bay, Sollows said the experience left him enthused.

"It's inspiring," said the youth.

"It's making me a lot more interested and it gives us something to work towards."

And when any student says those magic words, it's got to mean someone is doing their job with flair.

In this case, that someone is actually a group of people who've come together to spread the environmental word in a way that will catch the eye and attention of youth in Nunavut.

Tony Romito is the brains behind the project. A wildlife officer with the Department of Sustainable Development in Resolute Bay, Romito said he cooked up the idea after noticing a shortage of information available to young people in the territory.

"There was a lot of material out of the Western Arctic, but not a lot specific to Nunavut. I saw a need for the important issues to get to the youth in Nunavut," said Romito.

The next challenge was to find a medium for the message that would make young people stand up and take notice. Romito thought of videos.

"I came up with the idea of producing some fun, fast-paced videos on environmental issues," he said.

Employees of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation were flown in to teach various camera and editing skills and as a practice run, the students put together a series of music videos.

Flush with the success of that project, three different topics were picked and teachers and students from grades 9 to 12 divided up into teams.

The subjects included global warming and ozone depletion, sustainable development and wildlife management, and Northern contaminants and bio-accumulation.

Romito said all three video topics were going extremely well so far,

He added that the groups were sticking to their schedules.

"If our music videos were any sort of indication, we're going to be pretty proud of it," said Romito.

"Filming has started, we're probably about halfway through. We've done a lot of interviews and the bulk of the information has been collected. We just have to put the smaller parts of the videos together, do some cut-away shots and pans and filler material," he added.

School principal Shannon Adams said the finished product will be brought back to the community on June 17 after three students spend a week in Iqaluit with IBC doing the final editing on the three 15-minute pieces.

"Their job is to come back with the final, edited project," said Adams.

IBC was impressed enough to run the videos during their time-slot on the national network, APTN.

The idea of that makes Mona Ulayuruluk nervous when she's in front of the camera. She said however, that the experience had given her a tremendous amount of insight into video production, the media and environmental issues.

"They (environmental issues) affect everybody and they're getting worse," said Ulayuruluk.

"We should know what it does to us."

Working on the Northern contaminants video, student Joannie Pudluk said along with learning important lessons about camera work and editing, his eyes have been opened about the food on his table.

"I've learned how (contaminants) work and if our food in the North is safe to eat," said Pudluk.

Adams is proud of the skills picked up by his students

He is also a strong advocate of cross-curriculum lessons, noted the $25,000 project (funded by Sustainable Development, IBC, Kakivak Association, Resolute Bay hamlet, Baffin Divisional Education Council and First Air) included subject matter from many of the school's courses.

"We always like to see how this fits into the regular school," said Adams.

"In terms of the core subjects, you've got science -- this fits right into our science classes.

"With English, it's the script-writing. Drama -- the on-camera work, angles and lighting. And then the technical end of it works into our computer technology program," he said.

"It's cutting edge stuff."