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'Lens On Climate Change' Teaches Students Film, Science

Jun 15, 2018

Students Cole Fenton, left, and Gage Balderson learn to make films at the Lens on Climate Change workshop in Carbondale.
Credit Courtesy of Wild Rose Education

A handful of middle and high school students from across the Roaring Fork Valley spent the week learning about climate change and making films.


Twenty students from Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Aspen huddled around poster board at the Third Street Center in Carbondale, planning out their upcoming films. They are part of the Lens on Climate Change workshop, and their mentors are scientists from the University of Colorado and students from Colorado Film School.

"Really the goal is to kinda find the connections and bring a global phenomena, and a scientific phenomena, to a tangible, community focused level," said David Oonk, a filmmaker and graduate student in climate science at CU, who is mentoring the students.

Oonk said it’s important the kids drive the process. The first day is focused on science and brainstorming ideas, then the students jump into research, creating storyboards and shot-lists. Finally, they get out into their communities to shoot the films.


They’ve chosen topics that hit close to home. One focuses on the ways we use water from the Colorado River, another on losing snow.

Cole Fenton just finished 5th grade at Carbondale Middle School. His group’s film directly connects to his life; Cole lives on a ranch.

“We’re filming about cows, and when they burp and fart, they release methane,” he said.

The films screen at the Third Street Center gym on Saturday at 2 p.m.