Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team Debuts Innovative High School Video

High school video project

(L-R) Rio Rancho High School students Jonas Graham and Nicole Klein and Sue Cleveland High School student Kasey Harris edit “Stormwater Quality – The Message,” a nine-minute educational video produced by students at three area high schools to educate their peers and the public on stormwater quality and stormwater pollution caused by pet waste and other toxins.

Published May 2, 2013

Albuquerque, NM— The Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team (MRGSQT) today debuted a nine-minute video entitled “Stormwater Quality – The Message” that was created by students at three area high schools to educate their peers and the public on stormwater quality and stormwater pollution caused by pet waste and other toxins.

The video was produced with a $2,500 grant from the MRGSQT and in-kind support from the Intel Computer Clubhouse. The stormwater quality video is unique because it was written, directed, produced, edited and starred in by 12 students from Bernalillo High School, Rio Rancho High School and Sue Cleveland High School who had little or no experience in film. The nine-minute video also incorporates an original short music video entitled “Bag it Up.”

The students researched the stormwater systems of the western United States to gain a better understanding of what happens to rain and snow melt in arid landscapes. They soon discovered that stormwater does not go into a combined sewage and stormwater system. Since the waste water and stormwater systems are separate, the stormwater isn’t going into a waste water treatment plant to be cleaned. That means stormwater flows into the Rio Grande untreated. Whatever the water picks up along the way as it flows down arroyos, channels and ditches, it takes to the Rio Grande River.

The goal of the project was to raise awareness about stormwater quality and preventing stormwater pollution as well as have students teach their peer group about the issue through the medium of film. “Prior to this project, none of the students had ever considered expressing themselves in film. Now that they know how powerful being able to communicate messages through YouTube, Vimeo and other film-oriented websites is, I believe they will carry this experience into the future and consider using film as a means of educating others,” Marc Calderwood, Intel Computer Classroom film instructor, explained.

Students were chosen to participate in the project based on recommendations from science teachers. All student participants excel in both math and science and are very active in a number of school activities.

The students wrote the scripts for the music video and overall video, performed camera work, created a Facebook page and even wrote thank you notes to people who helped on the project. They met regularly at donated space, worked with dancers on the music video, and created audio for the project.   The video was filmed at Hyde Park in Rio Rancho, in a Rio Rancho neighborhood, at Rio Rancho City Hall and in the Montoya Arroyo in the Rio Rancho Bosque.

“Because the students researched and developed all aspects of the video, I believe they came away with a holistic view of water – realizing it is recycled across the planet and that whatever we do impacts others and our own water sources. They realized something as simple as scooping up pet waste can have a profound impact on drinking water.  The biological contaminants caused by pet waste are a major problem because of the volume of pet waste generated in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties,” said Catherine Conran, the MRGSQT liaison. “We believe this video will be useful in reaching high school students and talking to them about stormwater quality in a way that is relevant and effective.”

Students who participated in the project were Eduardo Garcia and Maggie Mehlman of Bernalillo High School; Taylor Adamson, Jonas Graham, Katherine Harris, Nicole Klein and Sangam Shrestha of Rio Rancho High School; and Kasey Harris, Ashley Hagenloh, Zach Hakala, Autumn Irby, and Erynn Wright of Sue Cleveland High School.

The educational video and music videos are posted on YouTube via links on the MRGSQT website, www.keeptheriogrand.com.

The Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team was formed in 2004 to cooperatively educate and reach out to residents about how they can reduce stormwater pollution to help “Keep the Rio Grand!” The team includes the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority, Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Department of Transportation. The Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District is also a nonvoting member.

Watch the video

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