Between class, homework, and tests, it can be difficult for students to find the time to do something they love. For many students, school clubs are a great way to learn new things while having fun and taking a break from their studies.
This is the case for a group of students at W.A. Porter Collegiate in Toronto. The students started a film club at their school after participating in last year’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) Canada National Eco-Journalism Competition. If you haven’t heard of YRE before, it is a national eco-education program that gives youth (ages 11-18) the opportunity to be part of the solution by producing creative and engaging environmental journalism in the form of videography, photography, and writing. As part of the program, students can submit their work into a national competition to be judged by media professionals. (Learn more about this year’s eco-journalism competition here!)
“YRE is very important because it progresses Canada environmentally… It has an impact on a big audience and initiates change, especially on the younger generation, making them more aware and active on environmental problems,” said Tahia Wahid, one of the club’s creators.
After entering the YRE National Eco-Journalism Competition last year, Tahia, a current Grade 11 student, was motivated to improve her filmmaking skills. Despite the two and a half hour commute, she signed up for a film class in North York over the summer. Wanting to share her new skills with her peers, she formed the film club at her school.
The club now meets once a week after school where students learn how to shoot videos, edit and animate them, and bounce around ideas for new project ideas. Videos that they create are shown at school assemblies and are also submitted to competitions such as the one hosted by YRE Canada. They even had the opportunity to create a film that was shown at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Morocco!
“YRE gives people something that they don’t always have. It gives people an audience for their voice. When I heard about the YRE competition, I got inspired by the messages and the previous videos,” said Mymoon Bhuiyan, who also helped to found the club. His Plastic Pollution video won first place in the 2016 YRE Canada competition and third place in the 2016 International YRE Competition, hosted by the Foundation for Environmental Education.
Tahia, Mymoon, and W.A. Porter Collegiate’s film club are great examples of how youth can take something that they are interested in (like filmmaking) and use it as a tool to take action for the environment.
If you’re interested in taking part in this year’s YRE Canada National Eco-Journalism Competition for youth, visit youngreporters.ca for more information and resources to help you craft your next big environmental story. This year, national competition winners in each category will be published by Alternatives Journal magazine and have the chance to compete in the international YRE competition.