White Bear Lake Area High School students were recently awarded for a short film about environmental sustainability. 

The film by the Environmental Club titled “A Change of Heart” features a teenager learning the value of making choices that take care of the environment and herself. At the beginning of the film, she is seen hanging out with a group of students who have little regard for the environment. She drives around in a large truck with her boyfriend, littering and eating and drinking junk food from single-use containers. She leaves the friend group for another she finds drinking from water bottles and eating fruits and vegetables. Another guy wins her heart with an apple and she bikes off with him.

The Environmental Club was invited to participate in the Energy Video Competition as part of a Climate Smart Municipalities partnership between Minnesota and  Rhine Westphalia, Germany, reported Environmental Club Advisor Amy Hawkins Donlin. Sixteen other schools participated. “A Change of Heart” placed first in the international competition. 

The film was also entered in the “YOUR BIG IDEA for a Sustainable Minnesota” contest, sponsored by District Energy of St. Paul and the St. Paul Saints. It tied for second place among 18 Minnesota schools and won $1,500 for the club. The top three schools were recognized at a June 8 Saints game. Kelliher Public Schools' winning film was shown on the big screen.

Donlin and Film Production teacher Shawn Gritzmacher said they were proud to see how excited the students were about the project. 

“Indeed, these students’ message of responsibility and optimism for the future is already being heard,” Donlin noted. “We are proud to work with young people who are so incredibly ambitious, creative and driven to make a difference in their own school, community and beyond.”

The film can be viewed on YouTube. It is titled “White Bear Lake 1” and is posted by Climate Smart Municipalities. 

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