LA River PSA Challenge
Burroughs High School
Students will create a public service announcement (PSA) to shed light on an issue plaguing the Los Angeles River today. Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) is seeking videos that accurately portray the current state of the River and issues that the are relevant to the community. We are connecting with students to produce these videos to share with the public as a voice of the community and youth.
We would like to showcase the most effective, well-executed videos on FoLAR’s social media: Folar.org, Facebook, Twitter, and possibly in a weekly email that reaches 10,000+ constituents. The video may also be used to teach other students about the River.
The video will represent FoLAR and must meet our professional standards.
(1). The structure should be as follows:
- Introduce the issue
- How the issue is significant to the LA River today
- Your suggested solution to the issue/call to action
Video length: no longer than 3 minutes
(2). The video is effective:
It should have a passionate tone and content must be based on facts. Spoken word, graphics, and text are permitted. We want the video to have a positive perspective of the River – how can we help the River?
(3). The video is not biased / slanted:
FoLAR does not want to issue blame; we would like to present the issues to the public without infusing opinion.
Unbiased: The River was covered in concrete beginning in the 1930s.
Biased: The Army Corps did not care about the River.
(4). The video is legal:
We cannot use media that is copyrighted. PSAs that use copyrighted footage or music will not be chosen.
- Do not plagiarize; put ideas into your own words. Remember, this may go on the FoLAR website and social media to reach more than 10,000 people!
- FoLAR/Burroughs Photo Release: If public people are included in your PSA, they must sign. Keep the waivers for reference.
- Burroughs students do not need to sign waivers.
Resources for Research and Inspiration
Visit Folar.org for links to news articles, information, and current events:
The Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan
Revitalize the River (Recommended)
Some of the projects are years away from implementation, while some have been partly financed and are ready to start prototype testing. The LA River project is estimated to cost over $1 billion. The city and Army Corps are currently fighting over cost distribution. FoLAR is advocating for a 50/50 split. The involvement of Frank Gehry, renowned architect, could delay the plans for years.
Learn about a biofiltration, an eco-friendly solution to clean polluted soil. Can this method be used to clean other brownfields? Also, see Taylor Yard in Glassell Park.
Forward Thinking Architects in the 1930s : Olmstead Brothers
Olmstead Brothers proposed plans for the River in the 1930s as an alternative to concrete. These plans are similar to the Revitalization plans today:
Oil Trains Running Through Los Angeles: Crude-oil train wrecks raise questions about safety claims
Resolution against crude oil trains running through Los Angeles neighborhoods and along the River.
Social justice thought: what types of neighborhoods will the trains run through? Will it run through Beverly Hills? Support your answer!
The Toxic Saga Behind Santa Susana Field Laboratory
The Santa Susana Field Lab was developed in the late 1940s for rocket-engine tests and nuclear energy research by private-sector and government scientists from Rocketdyne, the Department of Energy and NASA, among others. But it also left contamination in the soil and groundwater that has long been blamed for health problems in the local communities, including higher rates of cancer. Site owners and environmental regulators still don’t know the full extent of the soil and groundwater contamination. (From LA Daily News)
Interesting connection between biofiltration and SSFL: LA Conservation Corps spent 8 weeks working on a “garden” Santa Susana Field Lab (work was paid for by Boeing/SSFL)
Letter from William Preston Bowling (ACME) about the “garden.” No response was received from the organization.
1. What are specific sources of major of pollution in the River (point-source pollution)? Sources of non-point source pollution?
2. Should Frank Gehry (renowned architect) design new plans for the revitalization of the River?
3. Should the city be allowed to build the Olympic Village beside the River?
4. Recreation in the River – does kayaking, biking, hiking harm the habitat?
5. Should non-native plants and animals be exterminated from the habitat? (Arundo, carp, Canadian geese…)
6. What are more eco-friendly methods to flood control?
The Law that Killed the LA River : KCET article on channelization of the River beginning in the 1930s. (optional)
7. Why should youth and the community be educated about the LA River?
Learn about the education program that you are participating in right now!
8. Should developers be allowed to buy land and build housing and businesses on the River?
9. How can we use biofilitration to clean the LA River?
10. How can we save water using the River? (revitalization plans, porous ground, reclaimed water, aquifers)
12. Who should be able to create art on the LA River?
Learn more with FoLAR’s Watershed Wonders
You are not limited to these websites, but be sure to reference credible sources.
What River sites should I visit?
Sunny Nook Park, Verdugo Wash (Burbank) North Atwater Park (site of field trip): Students are encouraged to focus on the site of the field trip, as they will be able to film on the day of the field trip. These sites can be found on FoLAR’s Glendale Narrows map.
What can I expect over the next weeks?
Throughout the program, students should collect information to use as support (facts) for the PSA.
Students will receive feedback on their plans on the day of presentations.
Lesson 1: Students will learn about the past of the River as a base to understanding the River today and its potential in the future.
Lesson 2: The Los Angeles River Rover will visit the school-site to conduct the second lesson.
Date: Sept. 24
Lesson 3: Students will be introduced to the Army Corps of Engineer’s plans for revitalization of the LA River.
Students will create a pitch to sell their idea to Ariel, professionals in the film industry, and FoLAR policy specialists.
Presentations: Students will present a professional pitch and receive feedback. Students should incorporate the feedback into their production of the video. Students are encouraged to film B-roll independently at the River. Bring your worksheet and notes.
Field Trip to North Atwater Park: Students will experience the River hands-on through macroinvertebrate (insect) collection, biodiversity nature walk, and experiments. Time to film before/after the field trip will be limited, so students should arrive to the park with a storyboard/planned shots.
Deadline for submission to Friends of the Los Angeles River: To be determined