BOICEVILLE — Most people never stop to consider the importance of our streams, but that is exactly what 14 students at Bennett Elementary School have done. The students, all members of the Watershed Detectives Club, created a 30-minute science education video that is now online for all to see. The video may be watched at https://youtu.be/Z8qLMeUE7hg.
Watershed Detectives is an after-school science club where students learn about streams and the Ashokan Reservoir watershed, part of the NYC Drinking Water Supply System. Students made the video after a year studying local streams, water quality, and water conservation.
This motivated group of fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students were involved in all aspects of the movie making process. They worked as actors, directors, camera, light and sound technicians, cue card holders and even caterers. “I love learning the details of the movie making process, it is so much fun trying the different jobs,” according to Landry Mack, a Watershed Detective in the fifth grade.
Students produced the video over a three-month period with the assistance of their club advisor, Matt Savatgy, a youth educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCEUC). “The kids really enjoy the “hands-on” process of movie making as well as the use of technology,” said Savatgy. “They have high standards for their work and they are very serious about the quality of the finished product.”
This fun, action-packed video was produced with the assistance retired Onteora teacher and videographer David Laks. It will serve as a useful tool for elementary school teachers or anyone eager to learn more about their local water resources.
Students in the video describe how streams are a vital part of the ecosystem and why it’s important to protect them from threats like invasive species. As a fun side project, they produced and performed a song titled “The Didy Mo Rap” warning of the problems associated with an invasive stream algae. “I really enjoyed all of the fun and laughter we had making the movie” said Kai Caswell, a fifth grader, “especially with our mistakes and bloopers.”
The Ashokan Watershed in the Catskill Mountains, where the Bennett School is located, served as the setting for the video. The students discuss why it is important to keep streams healthy, as they are often used as sources of drinking water. This is particularly true in the Catskill Mountains where streams provide fresh, clean drinking water to 9.5 million residents of New York State.
The video was made possible with education funding provided by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection in support of the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP).
To find out more about the Watershed Detectives and other youth watershed projects, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Matt Savatgy at (845) 688-3047 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the AWSMP, visit www.ashokanstreams.org.