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Walker students raising money for film festival

Peggy Revell
Fort Frances Times LTD
Wednesday, February 11,  2009 

Students at J.W. Walker School here are going even greener as they gear up and fundraise for an Environmental Film Festival this spring.
“In celebration of its 10th year, ‘Planet in Focus’ and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation joined forces to encourage schools in Ontario to plan their own Environmental Film Festivals,” J.W. Walker teacher Angela Petsnick explained by e-mail.
“Planet in Focus” is an international film festival held every October in Toronto that centres on films and videos which explore social and ecological issues.
“These two organizations have provided funding and support to four schools to plan and implement school community festivals,” Petsnick noted. “J.W. Walker School was one of these four schools chosen to receive funding.”
Petsnick has teamed up with Fort High teacher Natasha Shack to put together an environmental film festival here that will take place during Education Week, which this year runs from May 4-8.
Walker students already have been busy in anticipation of this local film festival, with students from Mrs. Davidson-George’s Grade 8 class undertaking their own film project, Petsnick added.
“Andrew George of All Good Projects Inc. has been hired to create and film two short environmental projects with these eager students to show at the film festival,” she noted.
To help support this project, the students also have partnered with Safe Communities Rainy River District (formerly the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition) to sell reusable shopping bags as a fundraiser.
“We’re very, very excited to include the kids, we really are,” said Grace Silander of Safe Communities Rainy River District. “That’s three-quarters of safety programming and environmental safety in the district.
“They’re working for their future environment and teaming with them is even better,” she enthused.
“They had applied for funding from the safety coalition, so working together with them to get our bags out there is offsetting the actual cost of fundraising, as well,” Silander said. “So this is huge. “And partnerships are what it’s all about.”
Following a perfect report card in 2007, one of the areas where it was suggested that Safe Communities could expand upon was the environment, hence why it went ahead with the reusable bags, Silander explained.
They’re still looking for other community partners and to expand, she added. Most recently, Atikokan has come forward to promote the bags there.
“Many students from the school have pitched in to help by selling these reusable shopping bags at a cost of $2.00 each,” Petsnick said about Walker students’ participation.
The students currently are halfway to their fundraising goal.
If any businesses or organizations would like to purchase bags as perks or gifts for their customers/clients, they can contact Petsnick at J.W. Walker School (274-3616).

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