My very first film started in grade 4 when my teacher, Mrs.Whiffin, gave my class an assignment to write about our heroes. I had just started volunteering at a local salmon hatchery called Mossom Creek Hatchery. I immediately knew who to write about and hopefully inspire others. Read on to see a speech I wrote for a public speaking competition at elementary school.
One of my heroes – Ruth Foster

Ruth Foster is my hero. She is an amazing retired teacher and environmentalist. I have been lucky enough to work with her at Mossom Creek Hatchery. Every time I go there I learn a little bit more about the environment. She inspires me in many ways. I hope you will become inspired too, and understand why she cares about the environment.

Ruth Foster started Mossom Creek Hatchery in 1976 along with Rod MacVicar and, with a little bit of help from volunteers, it got started in no time. Many student volunteers got together and started a high school Salmon Club too. The fall of 1977 was when Mossom got its first salmon eggs. Currently, between 100,000 and 150,000 chum salmon are released into the creek and only 100-200 return. Hey, did you know that when they got started, there were no salmon left in Mossom Creek, and they did not know why? After they started, and got salmon in the creek, they couldn’t just walk away. They were afraid the salmon would become extinct again. When they started, they needed to get eggs from somewhere because there were no salmon left in Mossom Creek, so they got the first eggs from the South Alouette River, then the Weaver Creek and later the Indian River, for years. Now they’re back to getting eggs from the Alouette River.

Mossom Creek is a little gem of life hidden in the forest that you might not be aware of when you’re driving by. There at the hatchery, volunteers raise, help and protect Mossom’s salmon. It is quite an exciting process to release them, knowing that you’ve succeeded in helping raise the salmon. The main problem that Ruth is trying to solve is to get the salmon to come back to the creek after they are released because for a number of possible reasons there aren’t enough salmon coming back to spawn on their own.

For 33 years volunteers that work along with Ruth, have farmed the salmon and then released them when they’re ready. They have done a great job in raising the fish over the years and I assume that they will keep going for as many as it takes to get enough to come back, in order to spawn on their own. Ruth Foster is also a member of the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, which helps restore eelgrass around the Lower Mainland. The eelgrass has disappeared so they’re trying to transplant it. Eelgrass is an amazing habitat for ocean creatures and is a shelter and feeding ground.

Ruth is very committed. She has been with the hatchery for 33 years and I don’t think she is going to quit any time soon. In my opinion, Ruth has done a great job on getting salmon back into the creek and an even greater job on helping the environment. She inspires me by helping the environment and I hope that one day I will become as great an environmentalist as she is. I know that when you started to read this, you had no clue who Ruth Foster is and I hope you learned a little bit more about Ruth Foster and maybe, just maybe, she is your hero now!
After I wrote this when I was 9 I took it to the next level. Since I knew Ruth, Mrs. Whiffin and I decided that I should try making a movie about her and submit it for the My Hero film festival. We worked for countless hours and I was thrilled to find out that my film  – “My Hero Ruth Foster” had won – and that’s when I fell in love with filmmaking.

Visit Mossom creek hatchery’s site at http://www.mossomcreek.org/

Go to the following website to watch my original film on Ruth.  http://myhero.com/go/films/view.asp?film=environmentalism

Making a Difference

My second film was completed for a film contest by Earth Day Canada. The challenge was to produce a 90 second film without sound! This film began by telling the story of Ruth Foster and her work but it took on a bigger meaning by reminding viewers of what fish and fish habitats are up against and asked the question “Are you making a difference”. 

Check it out.

Help Mary Save Coral

The following year I made contact with a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution who works out of the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology. Mary Hagedorn works to cryogenically preserve coral in the hopes of one day replenishing our oceans with coral when they become extinct. I got to travel to Hawaii where I interviewed Mary. The following films were a result of what I learned from her. Help Mary.    One Woman, One Hero. 

Mary Hagedorn and me

Blue Trees

In the spring of 2011 I met an artist named Konstantin Dimopoulos. He was outside our local library painting trees blue. It turns out he was trying to raise awareness for global deforestation. He lives in Australia and has done many outdoor art installations. He allowed me to interview him and after researching the topic of deforestation, another film was born. Blue Trees.

This is from Kon’s website.

The Blue Trees is a social art action.  Through colour I am making a personal statement about the spirituality of trees and their importance to our very survival: trees are the lungs of the planet.

Colour is a powerful stimulant, a means of altering perception and defining space and time. The fact that blue is a colour that is not naturally identified with trees suggests to the viewer that something unusual, something out of the ordinary has happened. It becomes a magical transformation.

In nature colour is used both as a defensive mechanism, a means of protection, and as a mechanism to attract. The Blue Trees attempts to waken a similar response from viewers. It is within this context that the blue denotes sacredness, something reverential.

Trees are largely invisible in our daily lives, and it’s not until it’s too late that we realise how important they are to us both aesthetically and environmentally. Each year an area at least the size of Belgium of native forests is cleared from around the planet.

Yet while we do this we look at whether other planets can be inhabited, so we’ve got somewhere else to go once we’ve destroyed our own.

The colour used on the trees is biologically safe pigmented water. As an ephemeral artwork, the colour will naturally degrade and the trees gradually revert to their natural state.

Kon is an amazing man who truly inspires me and many others to stop global forestation.

Forever Plastic

Photo used with permission from Chris Jordan

Another subject I feel strongly about is how plastics are destroying our world. I made a speech about it and a movie. The movie won in the middle school division at the My Hero Film Festival. The film was inspired by a woman named Taina Uitto who blogged about living life plastic free. A couple of weeks ago she invited me to a talk about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Captain Charles Moore. He is the man who discovered the enormous patch of plastic in the Pacific gyre. I was lucky enough to meet him that night and have him sign a copy of his book Plastic Ocean.

Find out more about plastic and watch my movie Forever Plastic at this link

And find out more about Taina Uitto at her blog at Plastic Manners

E-Waste

My most recent film is about electronic waste. It’s called Toxic Technology. Like some of my other films, it began as a research project that turned into a speech for public speaking competitions and eventually became a film. I visited an ethical recycling facility in Vancouver – Free Geek – and interviewed one of the key members of that organization last spring. Some of the images for the film came from an amazing photographer from Seattle – Chris Jordan. Chris was kind enough to supply me with some photos for my Forever Plastic movie as well when Taina Uitto put me in touch with him. The rest either came from my visit to Free Geek or from my two e-waste collections that I held over the last two years. Everything collected for those drives went to Free Geek. Check out what they do with their e-waste donations!

Nature Deficit Disorder – A Preview 

The film I’m working on now is about a subject very close to my heart – the separation between nature and people – especially kids. It’s taking me longer than usual to complete this film because I am learning about new film software as I go but I have been lucky enough to speak about this subject recently at a TEDx event and Richard Louv (the man who started the phrase “nature deficit disorder”) has asked me to blog a couple of times about this very important issue. Check out this link to watch a trailer of what this movie will be about.

Wow – that only took a year. Check out The Child in Nature. Uh-oh, that means I have to think about the next movie.

 

 

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Drum roll please…my next film is finally complete. It’s called Choose Local and you can view it at this link. It’s all about eating local and features interviews from a number of people who are experts on the subject. Enjoy!

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