By: Donna Macalle-Holly
On Tuesday evening, May 25, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, in collaboration with the Academy for Environmental Science at Jefferson Township High School, proudly premiered the Smithsonian Stories: YES project showcasing three short student videos, which examined the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the widespread 2019 Harmful Algal Bloom on Lake Hopatcong. They were created by Academy students, Veronica Carrion, Kailey Pasquariello, and Matthew Sinchi under the guidance of LHF Grants and Program Director Donna Macalle-Holly and Academy for Environmental Science Teacher Dr. Nancy FitzGerald.
Both the Foundation and the Academy are incredibly proud of what the students accomplished during their senior year internship project with the Foundation. The feedback from the lake community has been very positive with one resident saying she will “refer all my neighbors and residents of Mount Arlington to watch and learn and to have their questions answered.”
During the program Dr. FitzGerald shared the Academy’s approach to studying about the environment, which is a systems thinking perspective, referred to as the triple bottom line—looking at people, profit, and planet. In other words, studying environmental issues through the lens of culture, economy, and science, which is the approach the students used for this project.
To complete the project the students participated in bi-weekly planning meetings as well as Smithsonian Stories: YES training, conducting interviews, learned how to use various forms of technology, storyboarded, made phone calls, sent emails, scheduled/conducted/filmed interviews, wrote a script, researched editing software and video sharing platforms, secured interviewee release forms, and uploaded/downloaded/rendered videos. They have done it all themselves and they even ran the live event on Tuesday evening... oh and to do all of that in the height of a pandemic, now that takes talent, skill, heart, and commitment!
If you weren't able to join us for the live presentation, we hope you will take a moment to watch the replay below.
The student project was supported by the Smithsonian Stories: YES program, which encourages young people across the country to engage with their communities to discover and digitally document their unique history. The final project will become a permanent part of Smithsonian's Stories: YES collection on Museum on Main Street’s website, museumonmainstreet.org.
Funding for Stories: YES is generously provided to Museum on Main Street (MoMS) with internal Smithsonian Institution support from the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program. MoMS is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils. It was created to serve museums, libraries, and historical societies in rural areas, where one-fifth of all Americans live. SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for over 65 years. It connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.