Coast Mountain Academy duo takes a stand | Squamish Chief

Coast Mountain Academy duo takes a stand

Squamish students win first prize with video

Two Coast Mountain Academy students took a stand for the environment and impressed a panel of judges en route to taking first prize in the Take A Stand Community Innovation Challenge.

Lilly Dumais and Ava Astill, who just finished Grade 8, earned the honour with their video entitled This is what we have to fight for.

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The contest was held provincewide and was open to students in grades three through 12.

The video features shots of the two at the Squamish Estuary with narration, including Dumais reading a poem she wrote and Astill presenting information about the state of the environment worldwide.

“The poem is about climate change and how we need to fix our ways to keep the world a beautiful place,” Dumais said.

Video production had its challenges, the pair said, as filming took several weeks, while it also took some time to achieve the right levels for the voiceover.

“We went out with Lilly’s dad and he has a drone camera. We used the drone to film some stuff to put in the video,” Astill said. “We recorded Lilly doing the voiceover saying the poem, and I was talking about some of the information.”

“It was a difficult process but at the same time, it was fun,” Dumais added.

The pair heard about the contest through their teacher, Crista Wiles, and the girls were inspired to put together their entry.

Both appreciate the opportunity to live to close to the Pacific Ocean and Howe Sound, and hope to keep it a lovely place for generations to come.

“It’s a beautiful place and I love it here,” Dumais said.

“I love being able to go down there, sit by the ocean, breathe in the ocean air and maybe see a couple animals,” Astill said, adding she gained even greater appreciation after spotting seals during filming.

Allison Kermode, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University and the director of the Take A Stand: Youth For Conservation program, was impressed by the video.

What stood out most to her was how the presentation captured the gift of nature and how important it is to preserve it.

“I thought their entry was very touching. It was impactful and it was heart-rending. It also inspires change, positive change, toward doing whatever we can to protect and conserve our wonderful province, and Howe Sound being a spectacular area as well,” she said. “They also used pretty creative skills. Their drone footage was pretty spectacular and it was very artfully put together but also very genuine.”

Winning the contest could create other opportunities for Dumais and Astill, according to Kermode. For example, a past contest winner took part in a one-day workshop at Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station as a result of his project.

Additionally, Kermode is developing a presentation series about ocean literacy and feels the video could be incorporated into the address with Dumais and Astill potentially being invited to introduce it.

Both Dumais and Astill would love to stay involved.
“For me, I really love this stuff. I was excited to hear I could maybe introduce the poem and introduce the subject,” Dumais said.

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