Hello again! As the first Humanities project this school year, this one was quite fun. Our driving question was “How do people and the environment affect each other?”. We started off this project by watching a video about a man who has lived alone in the woods for 40 years. I’ll link it here. The man’s name is billy barr, and yes, he spells it with small b’s. He has spent over 40 years living in the woods in Colorado. He has been keeping track of the levels of snow on the ground that falls each winter and has been able to tell scientists some important things about the environment. billy skis into town every couple of weeks for supplies. Every day that it snows, billy, twice a day, records the snowfall. He has noticed a disturbing trend. Each year, here is less and less snow and the snow that falls melts quicker. After watching this video, we basically could figure out what this project would mainly be about – what we as humans can do for the environment to help it heal from all the harm that we have caused. We then learned that we would be writing a letter that related to the environment to a member of the Canadian government. I was actually away filming for most of this project and then I caught a nasty cold last weekend so I missed this week as well, so most of my work was done remotely for this project.

The first main thing that we did in this project was write a response to the prompt “Are people today more destroyers of nature or protectors of nature?”. Here is my response:

Are people today more destroyers of nature of protectors of nature?

For my letter, I originally decided I was going to write to Justin Trudeau, but after some critique from a teacher, I decided to write to John Horgan, the premier of BC instead. I would be writing to him regarding the old growth logging going on in Fairy Creek, on Vancouver Island, and old growth logging in BC as a whole. If you’re unfamiliar with the current situation in Fairy Creek, the logging company Teal Jones has been approved to log old growth trees in the Fairy Creek Watershed area on Vancouver Island, but environmental activists have been standing up for this by making a blockade and peacefully protesting the logging. The thing is, the blockade has been banned by the courts, and there have been violent measures against the protesters, such as rubber bullets. RCMP officers have also dragged protesters away and even poked at their eyes.

I actually wrote most of my letter on set between takes and sometimes literally in a take when I was OS (off screen), because I was running out of time to finish it. The director liked the letter BTW. Here’s my first draft:

Letter Outline

After this, I sent the letter to a teacher and got some feedback. The letter needed to be shorter and be less repetitive. Back to my iPad I went. Here’s what the second draft looked like:

Letter Outline V2

I thought that would be my last letter draft and after that I would be good to go, but oh no no. Little did I know, I would have to trek through the treacherous terrain of four more revisions and forgetting my iPad at home on a really important day (sorry, Ms Maxwell and Mr Harris). Now that story sounds documentary worthy, so I have hired narrator David Attenborough to tell the tale. You can’t hear his voice so you just gotta trust me.

Hello, this is David Attenborough. As the wild Dylan wandered through this new uncharted territory, he came across many obstacles. On the day that Dylan and his classmates would be making their final revisions to their letters and printing them out, the wild Dylan seems to have forgotten his iPad at home. The batteries on our cameras died, so here’s a sketch that our cameraman drew illustrating the scene:

The wild Dylan would have to figure out how to log into his Apple ID from the school computers to finish his final letter.

Ok, It’s me again. Turns out hiring a world renowned narrator is a little pricy so I think I’ll finish the letter without David. Sorry, bud. I ended up finishing my final letter in time and it was printed out. We learned how to address a letter properly and we addressed our letters. Members of government don’t need a stamp to mail a letter so, which is cool. Here’s my final letter draft:

Letter Outline V6

I made the text larger, changed some words around and added a signature. Fancy! My neighbours are actually a scientist and an engineer, and they were a lot of help with this letter as well. They gave me some super useful critique and more awesome feedback.

I almost forgot to mention the CommonLit activities that we did. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned CommonLit in a previous post, but basically CommonLit is a website where teachers can post writing and reading assignments and students can answer them. The teachers then mark them. It’s simple, but it’s a lot more fun and interesting than normal pen(cil) and paper assignments. We did a lot of reading and vocabulary assignments about the environment. I’d definitely recommend reading “He-y, Come on Ou-t” and “Lee Sherman and the Toxic Louisiana Bayou”. You can find both online. We answered questions about those and more stories that we read. They all connected to humans and the environment in some way or another. After we finished all of the CommonLit assignments, we made a multi-paragraph response about how our letter relates to the CommonLit stories we read. Here’s my response:

Multi-Paragraph Response

Welp, that’s pretty much it. I hope you enjoyed all 992 words of this blog post and I’ll see you next time!