Oil Spill: Mountain Pine students travel to Gulf Coast for documentary

    9:57 PM, Jun 7, 2010   |    comments
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    The six students and their teacher are from the small community of Mountain Pine near Hot Springs. They spent three days along the Gulf Coast on a mission to tell the story of this devastating oil leak. 

    "They had to be very delicate, but they had to be real forceful with it," one student said.


    These Mountain Pine students gather around a computer watching some video they shot of the oil leak aftermath.


    "I just felt bad because they're using a cue tip to clean the brown pelican's eyes," another student said.


    It's a difficult scene to see first hand after a recent trip to Louisiana.


    "It really was a rewarding experience for me. I really don't think anything can come close to this," Eli Smith said.    


    Smith was one of the six students on this journey, assisted by a $30,000 federal grant and a partnership with the Arkansas Audubon Society. 

    "They've shown that they suit up, show up and go to work," said Mary Smith with Arkansas Audubon.


    Mary Smith, with the Audubon Society, has worked with these students before on bird migration projects.  On this latest venture, she provided the guidance while they went after the stories.   


    "Each of us has taken a portion of the documentary ourselves. Personally, I've taken the human aspect," Eli Smith said.  


    It's a human aspect Eli Smith chronicled in interviews with store owners, like this woman with a costume business.


    "This place was her home. She had no other place to go to do what she did. She was really scared," Smith said.  


    For their teacher, Michael Vincent, it was going out to eat one night at a restaurant and seeing a sign.


    "Right there in the storefront, the window, they're having to advertise that they're raising prices," Vincent said.


    They're tough realities spilling onto shore and their computers, and giving a voice to those in need. 


    "We're doing everything we can to get it ready and we just want to make these people we've interviewed proud, we just want to live up to their expectations of us," Smith said.  


    Along with spending time in Louisiana, the students also went to Mississippi. They're hoping wrap up the documentary by August and debut it during a community back-to-school festival.


    As for the Audobon Society, we're told they have folks on the ground in the Gulf right now offering scientific expertise in treating the affected birds.


    For the latest on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, visit our special section on todaysthv.com for up-to-date tweets, photos and information.



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