[Note: This review of "A Simple Question" plus "Missouri Stream Team" appeared in the Nevada City Advocate newspaper as part of a set of reviews for the 8th Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival.]
In a fourth grade classroom, a child asks “A Simple Question” during a science lesson.He wanted to know what he and his classmates could do to save endangered species.With a relentless commitment to expanding her kids’ motivation and learning environment, Laurette Rogers put all hands onto ranch land at Stemple Creek.
Over many years, they improved the health of that watershed, including a flourishing of the trees they planted. Vegetation, birds and other animals thrived, as did a sense of win-win community with landowners .It seems that the endangered California freshwater shrimp has been brought back from the brink of extinction.
They upgraded a lot of people’s education.Through what grew to be the “Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW), a simple question became something of an unassuming movement.
This is a profoundly ordinary film.Without the zazz and weight that other issue pictures leverage, it is, nonetheless, heartening and effective storytelling.It’s an example that deserves attention.
Another film, “Missouri Stream Team,” engages in an analogous way.Curiously, it’s about waterways too, This movement, a pretty big one, still has a down home, ordinary feel.Thousands of teams -- something like 80,000 kids, families members, community members throughout the state -- help make streams in Missouri cleaner and healthier.It’s a hands-on, enduring affair.The film celebrates twenty years of practical accomplishment through these teams
There are many simple questions out there, perhaps best heard and implemented when we keep the children in the loop.