A Carroll County filmmaker made it her mission to use her craft in hopes of boosting environmental education and showing them that it’s right outside of everyone’s front door.
Cheryle Franceschi of Eldersburg released her documentary “Conservation Kids” in February, when it initially premiered at the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education conference. The documentary will be shown at the Maryland STEM Parade at Bowie State University at 10 a.m. Saturday, as part of the monthlong Maryland STEM Festival.
According to Franceschi, Green STEM has been around for about a decade. It involves adding environmental teachings to STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
According to a news release from Franceschi, viewers of the film will “experience real world scenarios using STEM principals.” The documentary features interviews with environmental educators, scientists and conservationists that explain “the advantages of using Green STEM in today’s global economy.”
Franceschi came up with her idea to make “Conservation Kids” from her interest in natural resource conservation and through some official county roles.
“I was on the Curriculum Council in Carroll County for eight years, and I didn’t see things related to natural resource conservation," she said. "Science was there, your typical robotics-type information, but nothing really environmental. Later I became the chairwoman of the Carroll County Forestry Board, where I got to learn about the importance of urban forests and clean water, things of that nature, no pun intended.”
Franceschi has been working in the film industry since 2007, when she started her company, Por Eco Productions/One Idea, Dos Languages.
Franceschi said she hopes that her documentary can be incorporated into schools and can help more people learn about Green STEM.
“They can learn it and the school hopefully will implement more Green STEM learning opportunities until it helps students realize that physics is part of Green STEM, engineering is part of Green STEM, mathematics, science — everything is tied in,” Franceschi said. “They don’t really see environmental education on the same platform as the other courses that are usually offered to students, especially at the AP level. I hope that the schools will start to use it more and get kids interested in careers and natural resource conservation.
“The kids in the environmental sector and that are in the agricultural sector, they need to get the same type of recognition as the kid that is going into chemistry or physics; then they might feel, ‘Hey, I’m really going to make a change.’ ”
Franceschi directed, produced and funded the entire documentary on her own. It was edited by Tonal Vision.
This marks her second documentary, following “Mr. Besley’s Forest,” a documentary about the first state forester, and has plans on a third documentary, “Food, Fiber and the Female Farmer,” for which she is currently seeking funding.
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The film has received accolades, including being chosen as an official selection of the Germinate International Film Festival and at the Utopia Festival, according to the release.