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~Rookery Bay Reserve inspires students' science themed films~

RBR Film Premiere

Rookery Bay Reserve Director Gary Lytton welcomes guests to film premiere.

NAPLES– The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in partnership with Collier County Public Schools and Discovery Education, hosted Lely High School’s first ever marine science film premiere.

High school students enrolled in marine and ecological sciences and video production classes researched, developed and produced videos documenting various environmental needs and challenges facing their local communities.

On Thursday evening, students and teachers presented their films to Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton, school district faculty and the students’ families during the film premiere and awards ceremony at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning CenterDiscovery Education Director Amy Knower, who has been working on this project with students all year, was also in attendance, along with Discovery Education vice president Andy Schaefer and Discovery Channel “Shark Week” producer and student film mentor Kristin Wilcox.

"We are pleased to host the first ever film festival and to celebrate the work of local students from Lely High School," said Rookery Bay Reserve director Gary Lytton. "The Rookery Bay Reserve staff is always excited to help augment students' traditional learning through opportunities such as this."

With producers from Discovery Education as their mentors, Lely High School’s marine science and television production classes teamed up to produce short videos that tell stories about science. The school selected Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to serve as the primary subject and backdrop. 

Each team, comprised of five students, selected a topic relating to environmental science, assumed roles from scene set-up to editing to post-production. Students used iPads donated by Arthrex, through the Teach Me In My World program, to research, document, film and assemble their projects. Beginning in August, the Rookery Bay Reserve's staff began engaging with the 120 participating students to help facilitate the filming and educate students about the reserve and local environmental issues. Awards were presented to all five winning teams and a plaque at the school with commemorate the winning team each year. Final versions of the five selected projects will be hosted on the Discovery Education website.

"Discovery Communications has been thrilled to partner with the incredible leaders of Collier County Public Schools, the amazing teachers, students and administrators at Lely High School and the wonderful scientists and conservationists at Rookery Bay Estuary," said Knower. "With a focus on stewardship and community involvement, students utilized communication, teaming, video production, research and interview skills to create new content that informs and educates the public on the environmental issues and economic impacts facing their local community."

This was Discovery Education’s first ever partnership effort of its kind with any school district in the country. Thanks to the success of the project, it is serving as a model for other districts nationwide.   

This is a great example of the Rookery Bay Reserve’s education team executing its mission to deliver positive, rewarding experiences that increase awareness and understanding of the value of coastal ecosystems. Programs offered by the reserve are often hands-on and exploratory. This message is delivered in a variety of program offerings.