A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW
Catalogue Number: TVP002
Producer: Video Project, Inc.
Subject: Documentary, Education, Environmental Studies, Science, Social Sciences, Sociology
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin: United States
Copyright Year: 2010
Running Time: 36:00
A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW looks at an innovative program that brings together students of all ages, their teachers, community groups and local landowners to undertake habitat restoration and preserve endangered species. STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) is a model for involving students in hands-on environmental education. The film documents the modest beginnings of the program, how it works, and the impact it has on the students and the habitat they work to restore.
In 1992, a 4th grade California teacher and her students decided to help to save the obscure, endangered California freshwater shrimp in their local Stemple creek. They conducted research, interviewed experts, created databases, called legislators, and presented their findings in public forums and a legislative hearing.
A local rancher allowed the class to plant willow saplings on the degraded creek banks on his land. The resulting trees are now a riparian forest, shading a meandering stream, creating the ideal habitat for the shrimp and 25 species of native birds. Since then, more than 25,000 students of all grade levels have participated in over 300 restoration projects. Rogers' former students describe how the experience changed and empowered them.
“"STARRED REVIEW. Top 25 Videos for Students....." A welcome addition to school and public libraries, this well produced, tightly edited program is just the thing for spurring similar hands–on activities and for encouraging kids to get involved.”
“Highly recommended. A must for all teachers who are thinking about organizing a project with students and the community. This documentary is a true testament to the fact that every person, young or old, and with the help of others, can work in a positive and constructive manner to become good stewards of the environment in an effort to create a better tomorrow.”
—Educational Media Reviews Online
"Inspiring. Recommended for students and adults seeking ways actively to make a difference in their local environments."
- Library Journal
“Recommended. A well-crafted and inspiring example of young people developing both eco-awareness and leadership skills. DVD extras include extended conversations with ecologists and authors.”
"This story shows that dreams can have long term success, and life can take unexpected paths. The facts that students can work hard, can get adults to listen and cooperate, and can have a great and lasting impact on their world are emphasized, and could be used to spark new ideas and action in other schools and communities. This DVD can be used in any classroom to encourage students to ask questions, and teachers to take action."
— NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association)
“The most compelling example that I’ve seen of students being productively involved in ecological restoration. I use the film as an integral part of presentations I do now to engage students in hopeful environmentalism.”
— Dr. David Sobel, Director, Teacher Certification Programs, ?Education Department, Antioch New England Graduate School
“‘A Simple Question’ portrays a hope grounded in the ability of the natural world to re-grow itself when people – in this instance, school children – make it the object of their care and attention. My hope is that this film will inspire more educators across the U.S. and world to take similar actions within their own watersheds.” ?
— Greg Smith, Ed.D., Professor of Teacher Education, Lewis and Clark College
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