Stewardship Film Festivaling
Kate Houle, communications specialist

On Friday, March 16th we hosted our first ever Environmental Stewardship Film Festival. The Stewardship team partnered with communications specialist, Kate Houle and technology and media specialist, Rob Houle to produce the fest. There were three different, curated, hour long blocks of documentary films shown. Some of the films are not currently available for public viewing, but we received special permission from generous filmmakers whose mission is in alignment with our mission at Conserve School.

This is what our mini-fest looked like:

Block I

4:15 – 5:30 Searching for Sustainability with filmmaker and farmer, Valerie Dantoin

Valerie Dantoin-Adamski is a farmer, environmentalist, and educator. She has been at the nexus of food, farming and water for 30 years. Valerie and her husband Rick practice managed grazing on their 180 acre family farm as the key tool that connects animal health, to land health, to human health and clean water. Valerie has been teaching Sustainable Food and Agriculture at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay for nine years. She has a Master's degree in Agronomy and worked on a Ph.D in Land Resources at UW-Madison before marrying a farmer and then truly discovering a land ethic. She has been active Statewide in teaching and promoting grazing because of all its benefits. In 2014 Valerie helped found the SLO Farmers Cooperative, a group of farmers that grow high quality vegetables, meat and eggs using SLO (Sustainable, Local, Organic) practices. She has helped about a dozen young people get started on their own farms. The Adamski's daughter, Genevieve, is a Conserve School alumni.

Block II

6:45-7:45 Water, Snow and Fire – Curated by Kate Houle

Three Trailers

Immiscible: The fight over Line 5 by Olivia Dimmer, Daniel Stephens, Austin Torres, Annette Kim. Created by four Michigan State University students in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Department of Media & Information.

Saving Snow by Adaptation Now

Wild Olympics by Colin Arisman, Wild Confluence Media


Eight Shorts

Chasing Wild: Journey into the Sacred Headwaters by Colin Arisman, Wild Confluence Media

Everything Water Touches by Zackary Canepari and Jessica Dimmock

A More Positive Impact by Heart of the Lakes/Stone Hut Studios

Getting Out Getting Through by Heart of the Lakes/Stone Hut Studios

The Snow Guardian by Day's Edge Productions

Surfing The Great Lakes by M22

Afterglow by Eyes & Ears Films

Wildfires in Wild Places by Amanda Monthei


Block III

8:15-9:15 Youth Advocacy through Film – Curated by Emily Hayne, Wilderness Fellow

A Walk Among the Trees featuring Austin Christensen. A film made by CS11 Alum and former Teaching Fellow Julia Reich.

A Need for the WildA film made by CS13 students Caroline Green, Sean Lovett, and Maia Sauer, and Lucie Warga.

Winter Weather by Elisha Barnett (2016 Teen Filmmaker Festival)

The 1% Crisis in the Great Lakes by Griffin Olis (2017 Teen Filmmaker Festival)

Liquid Gold by Milwaukee Water Commons "Water School" youth participants

Grow Food by Minneapolis Appetite for Change youth participants

Shift Trailer. Shot in the Dark Productions

2015 Youth Summit on Ocean Plastic Pollution: SEA Change - Be Change! The 5 Gyres Institute

Between the first two blocks of film we had a dinner break and between the second two blocks students were very grateful that the kitchen staff generously provided a special treat of brownie bars and hot chocolate for our student festival goers!

Many of these films are making the rounds or have made the rounds at national and international film festivals in the Documentary category and are available on platforms like Vimeo and YouTube for viewing. We encourage you to seek these films and filmmakers out.

Additionally, we want to thank, Colin Arisman of Wild Confluence Media, Aaron Dennis from Stone Hut Studios, Jonathan Jarosz of Heart of the Lakes for sharing their work with us. (include links) As well as a special thank you to organic farmer, educator and documentary producer, Valerie Dantoin who not only produced an amazing documentary, Searching for Sustainability, that happened to coincide perfectly with what AP Environmental Science is currently studying, but also took time out of her busy schedule to come show her film in the first block and talk to our students about filmmaking.

Twenty-eight different students attended at least one block of the film fest, that's half the student body. We felt this was successful for new programming. Three inspired film-loving students attended all three blocks!

Our goals in hosting the festival are to not just inspire students to advocacy through the power of film, but to have students see film as a communication tool that they can use for positive change too.