Click Youth Media Festival
Kate Houle, Communications Specialist

Conserve School staff, Rob and Kate Houle (me) Tech and Media Specialist, and Communications Specialist respectively, decided to do their professional development this summer in a hands on learning environment alongside students, and in the case of Conserve School, alumni. We participated in the first ever Click Youth Media Festival at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, hosted by Wisconsin Public Television and the UW-Madison School of Education.

I have made it part of my mission to bring more film and media studies to Conserve School because I see it as an invaluable tool for communication and expression of ideas surrounding conservation, environmental science and the value of outdoor education and adventure.  When I learned about this opportunity it seemed perfectly in alignment with this mission, a wonderful chance to learn from professionals, and educators in the field, as well as to reconnect with alumni with interests in these areas of study.

Youth ages 10-18 had the chance to work alongside members from PBS News Hour’s Student Reporting Labs, WPT and Wisconsin Public Radio, and the UW-Madison School of Education. Participants worked in teams conducting interviews, capturing B-roll footage, editing content, and creating two-minute segments (news packages) completely bootcamp style. At the end of the day there was film festival in the Fredric March Play Circle at the Wisconsin Memorial Union where youth and educators had the chance to watch their work (finished or not), offer peer feedback and receive input from experts. The material was appropriate for all who participated and every age group seemed to get a lot out of the the experience.  

Not only did the students learn a lot, but the teachers and chaperones did as well! We got very little pre-production time as one might in the case of breaking news… But we learned about shooting in good light, the difficulties of getting good sound out in the field, how to ask someone for an interview and then get a good interview, as well as thinking quickly about B-roll opportunities, and then editing it all together into a tidy cohesive package, possibly with some voice over added in. And even though my group didn’t end up finishing our editing by the time we had to present it, the skills we learned and the interviews we got were ones that I know I have been able to put into practice immediately and hope that our alumni friends who participated were able to as well!    

We hope to participate in the Click Youth Media Festival again next year and would love to have even more Conserve School representation with us next time! We also endeavor to build and nurture our relationship with Wisconsin Public Media and the University of Wisconsin. If you are an incoming Conserve School student or alumni currently and will still be 18 or younger next summer this program sounds interesting to you please email me at to let me know you are interested in participating.

Photos contributed by Rob Houle, Media Specialist