Category Archives: Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement

Wolf-A-Mania By GL

February 20, 2013, by

Over summer I went on a two and a half week trip to Colorado with a program called The Road Less Traveled. On this trip I got the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to white-water-raft in the Arkansas River, rock climb 2 different courses deep in the forest, participate in a hiking trip to a waterfall then to the peaks of granite sand-dunes which rose to be 700 feet tall.

The most challenging task of this whole trip was hiking a 14,000ft mountain. The most rewarding was the service work I did in Colorado. I worked at The Mission: Wolf Refuge. Mission Wolf is an non-profit educational wolf sanctuary that’s located near a small town called Westcliff in Colorado. They not only provide the chance to see wolves up close, but demonstrate a sustainable way of life and educate people through hands-on experiences with the wolves that live there. They operate on solar power energy; eat food which we helped grow from their green houses; and use only items that were donated or recycled.

As a volunteer, our job was to assist the staff in the daily care of the wolves and other jobs they needed to get done around the reserve — such as building and repairing old fences for the rehabilitation farm they have for horses. We worked inside the habitats to create a fire bunker for the wolves in case of a forest fire, as well as to provide them with more of a spacious and safe environment. We even got the chance to contribute extra hands to help feed the 47 wolves. Feeding the wolves was a very long process…

My favorite part of the trip was being able to observe and learn about the wolves’ behavior. I’m proud to say I got the chance to be in these wolves’ lives, and they got to be in mine. In the end, I walked away with a better understanding not only of conservation, sustainability and the environment, but great lessons I can carry throughout my lifetime and an experience that I will never forget.

Please check out my SlideRocket below and visit Mission Wolf website!

There and Back Again- Mission Wolf

January 17, 2013, by

Last July, Gina and I went to Colorado to work and volunteer at Mission Wolf. We went with a group
called the Road Less Traveled which is an organization for kids 14-18 that leads them on service and
adventure trips around the world. They have many different options for places you can go. The trips
are usually led by college students who are certified adventure education instructors.

For three weeks, Gina and I camped with a group of kids in three different locations. For the first couple
of nights, we stayed at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, home of the tallest dunes in North America.
After that, we lived alongside wolves in Westcliffe, Colorado between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
and the peaks of the Greenhorn Wilderness Area. We then took a rafting trip down the Arkansas river
and rock climbed in San Isabel National Forest.

Mission Wolf is a wolf refuge that works on a number of important conservation efforts. It is home
to 40 resident wolves who were abandoned or abused and their owners could no longer provide the
space and care that they needed. Our group of volunteers worked for approximately 75 hours on the
site. We assisted the staff in the care and feeding of the wolves, we repaired old fences, helped restore
new enclosures, and assisted in the observation and documentation of wolf behavior to make sure the
wolves were comfortable in their habitat.

When signing up for “The Call of the Wild” trip, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was afraid
to leave home without any family members, but excited at the same time. I’ve always wanted to do a community service trip that involved working with animals but when I found out it was wolves I was blown away. I couldn’t picture myself working with real wild wolves. It all seemed to good to be true, and it really was. I will never forget the first time I looked into the eyes of Zeab (one of the wolves) and felt like all the hard work we did was appreciated. I met amazing people and felt accomplished and proud of the work we were all doing at Mission Wolf.


Grasping Gratitude~DC

December 13, 2012, by

Through out this term my group has been working on a mini documentary (micro-mentary) that explores our ideas and the things we have learned about Gratitude. Along with the micro-mentary we created a lesson plan and workshop to give people a better idea of what we’ve been working on. Our lesson plan covers defining, identifying, and understanding gratitude. My favorite part of this experience was interviewing people and finding out their different opinions on it. Something I take away from this course is a better understanding of planning and adjusting to changes by creating a plan B. Below is an attachment of our unit and lesson plan as well as our video. Enjoy 🙂






Project Gratitude – JM

December 12, 2012, by

During this Civic Engagement course, we have created a Micro-mentary and workshop on the power of gratitude. The purpose of this is to help people learn about the power of gratitude. I am proud of being able to work so hard on two really huge projects in such a small amount of time and get so much of the intended effect from it. I learned what gratitude means to other people and the effect that comes out of gratitude.


GCE Workshop Plan

Process of Making The Micro-Mentary

When we first heard we were making a micro-mentary, we had no idea what we were going to make. This was one month ago. Within one month, we have made a 3 minute movie which is in the form of a documentary. In this one month, we have set up multiple interviews with people who we believe represent gratitude with through what they have done with their lives. We have also gotten a lot of b-roll that fits in with our movie. With parts of the interviews we recorded and with most the b-roll, we did this animation technique called rotoscoping where you retrace almost all of the images in your movie to make the movie look like it was all animated. For 10 seconds of rotoscoping, it takes 30 hours of work. We managed to get this entire movie done this month with 8 people rotoscoping, interviewing, filming, and editing the video.


Grasping Gratitude

December 11, 2012, by

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 1.13.47 PM
Civic Engagement is a five week term in which we were broken down into 4 different groups and were assigned one of the four words that represent GCE. Ours was gratitude. The purpose of this project was to create a 5 minute micro-mentary showing gratitude while also using at least a minute of rotoscope. For those who dont know what rotoscoping is;it is an animation technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame.

Grasping Gratitude Video.

The first part of this process was to create a story board which allowed us to see on paper what we wanted our video to look like. Then we picked a few people that we thought would have a good understanding of what gratitude ment. Next each person in my group as assigned over 70 frames from the video footage we had taken to trace to complete the one minute of rotoscope. After the tedious work was done we then were asked to create a lesson plan which would help others better understand the meaning of gratitude and how to find it in their lives.

Even though this project took a lot of time and was frustrating in many ways I still enjoyed being able to learn about rotoscoping and more about what gratitude means not only in general but to me personally.

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 1.20.01 PM

Accountability during civic engagement

December 11, 2012, by

For my civic engagement unit we painted a mural. We had to do a 2 to 3 minute micromentary. In our micromentary we did a time lapse of us working, we did outside interviews with people who work with place-making, and lastly we shared our experiences through testimonies. We are going to have a workshop for parents and visitors to let them experience place-making.

Through this unit I got the chance to work with peers I have never worked with before. I learned a lot about place-making in Chicago and the rest of the world. I am proud of our final micromentary and of my group members for all the effort each have put in.

The Making of Cake- The Movie

December 11, 2012, by

For my civic engagement unit, my group and I were assigned to use photography as our main media to make a short film with the theme purpose. So by using stop motion we created a short film. The movie we made was about a cake topper falling off a wedding cake and he goes on an adventure to find his way back to the cake to his bride. The cake topper going on his adventure shows when you have a purpose for doing something don’t let anything or anyone stop you from achieving your goal.

The experience making this film wasn’t always easy. First is was challenging to come up with an idea for the film. After two days of going back and forth with ideas we decided to do the cake idea. Next we had to create the script. I believe that was the most easiest part compared to what was to come in the following weeks. The second week we starting shooting the film. It was fun, but it wasn’t always. Trying to control the lighting, choosing the right angles, and moving the little cake topper step by step was at times tedious. Next after getting over 2,000 photos for the film, we had to edit them! That was also a tedious, but rewarding process. Overall it took three weeks to finish the whole thing. I am very proud and happy of what we have accomplished. Please check out the film below.

Civic Engagement, Week 4 ~ ZF

December 11, 2012, by

In our last week of Civic Engagement, we are really trying to do the most we can to give back to our community. We are writing a workshop to present to the people who are coming to our final presentations. The workshop is meant to highlight the purpose that drives all of us in our day to day lives. We finished our movie last week and it was one of the most satisfying moments of my high school career. The movie really is quite beautiful and it involved so much hard work and group cooperation.

Our video demonstrates purpose in the story, the use of purpose to drive your actions, but, more importantly, I think the purpose is shown in the effort it took to make the movie. It took us two weeks of hard work, shooting and editing and reshooting and more editing. With a movie made frame by frame, it can sometimes be hard to see the big picture, and find the inspiration to keep going. But for us, we found a purpose and a way to push ourselves to achieve our goals. I am so proud of the product we have made.

Mini-documentary about “Purpose”

December 11, 2012, by

We have finished our video, after three weeks of hard work. The video is a story about a wedding topper who has to quest for his wedding topper bride. He goes through struggles and is faced with decisions. However he uses his purpose as motivation to guide him, and finds his way to his bride.

The experience of making the video was unforgettable. For the first week I helped with the filming of the video. After that I was responsible for recording and editing the music for the video. The song my group chose was a piece by Beethoven.

Now our process has come to an end, and our video is finished. We are presently working on creating a workshop to help others experience the learning we have this past month.

Civic Engagement Video

December 11, 2012, by

For our final product in the Civic Engagement unit we made a stop motion video which is a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example to give animated figures the impression of movement. The purpose of this movie was to involve photography and to try something new. It was a difficult process but very worth it in the end. The story is about two plastic figurines on top of a wedding cake who are in love but as the cake is leaving the bakery, the groom falls off. He has to travel a great distance and face challenging obstacles until he can get back to his true love. This experience has been very fun and fulfilling because it took a lot of teamwork and patience. We got to use our creative sides and discover things we didn’t know about ourselves along the way. The group has a lot of disagreements but always came to the same conclusion at the end; we did a really great job. Below is our final movie called Cake.