Water conservation: High school video sends a message

Immaculate Heart High School students who worked on the Earth Club water conservation video stand next to the campus fountain, which uses recycled water. Front row (left to right) are Celynne Hebron, Lauren Suh, Brittany Williams and Allie Howell; Back Row includes Christina Roh, Emma Weeks, Kelly Tucker, and Denisa Wartinbee. Missing is Taylor Rytlewski. — Credit: PAULA DOYLE

Using the digital tools of their generation, members of Immaculate Heart High School’s Earth Club decided to make a humorous video with a timely message highlighting simple tips on how to conserve water in this third consecutive year of California’s drought.

Earth Club co-historians Christina Roh, videographer, and Emma Weeks, video “news anchor,” joined with seven other club board members in the project to raise awareness about water conservation in light of the state’s three-year rain deficits, low-reservoir levels and sub-par snowpack.

Even after recent area storms, an April 1 survey of the water equivalent of the statewide snowpack is only 32 percent of the average measurement at this time of year before the spring melt, according to state government officials. Gov. Jerry Brown, since declaring a drought state of emergency Jan. 17, has called on Californians to voluntarily take steps to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent.

“I don’t think we realize that things are not as abundant as they used to be,” said Roh, who has also recently produced Earth Club videos on ocean conservation and endangered rain forests with her Canon T3i camera that accompanies her everywhere. “Making the water conservation video was a great way to get people to pay attention,” she said.

“My goal was to make sure that people understand how big of a deal it is to conserve water during this time. I really wanted to convey the fact that you can do really simple things that can really make a big difference.”

She and her fellow Earth Club board members researched water conservation tips that could be easily implemented by students in their own homes. They compiled the recommendations onto a Google document, which served as a basic script.

“When we got together, there was a lot of improvising,” noted Kelly Tucker. “We didn’t really plan out the whole script ahead of time. We sort of got the facts we needed and, right before, we’d be like, ‘Oh, let’s add this,’ and I think it added a lot of character and made it a lot friendlier to watch.”

Among the five water conservation recommendations (re-enacted in a humorous manner by her fellow students in the video) were: soak dishes instead of washing them with running water; place surplus ice cubes in planter boxes; catch water used to wash fruits and vegetables for use on outdoor plants; fix dripping faucets to save up to five gallons of water a day; and keep showers under five minutes to save as much as 1,000 gallons of water a month.

The video was shown at Immaculate Heart last month during “section” (homeroom) and “everyone seemed to love it,” said Roh, who, since filming the video, now takes the extra step to collect water used to wash produce at her house and carries it outside to water the grass.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Denisa Wartinbee. “I didn’t think it would be that great because it was just a video about conservation that I didn’t think people would be as engaged in as they were when they watched it. But I heard a lot of responses afterwards like, ‘Oh, that was a really good video, I’ll try that out.’ I think the humor and the way it was edited (by Roh, self-taught in video editing) made it very relatable to people.”

“I thought it was really empowering to make a video during the drought,” said Celynne Hebron, Earth Club president. She noted that the school prayed for rain during morning announcements over the public address system and that it started lightly raining when they were filming as well as in the week following its screening.

“Maybe it worked — like a [Lenten] sacrifice,” reflected Hebron.

 

To view the Immaculate Heart video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fkf_VkAHIU In upcoming weeks, more school projects related to the drought will be featured in The Tidings. If your school has engaged in this effort, contact Paula Doyle, (213) 637-7421 or pdoyle@the-tidings.com.


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