Colorado State University alumnus Jeremy Monroe did not expect the documentary that he spent 30 hours filming underwater would eventually reach 50 million homes – but it has.
Monroe, a graduate of CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources, is the writer, director and producer of "RiverWebs," a documentary film about life, death, science and streams that features CSU Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Professor Kurt Fausch.
"RiverWebs" premiered on PBS in June 2008, and has since captivated a nationwide audience. "RiverWebs" holds special meaning for both Monroe and Fausch because it chronicles the life and work of Shigeru Nakano, a pioneering Japanese ecologist. Nakano, who was a leader in international efforts to increase understanding of river ecosystems, died in a research accident in 2000. As one of Nakano’s closest friends, Fausch leads the effort to continue and promote Nakano’s research. Fausch was Monroe’s undergraduate academic advisor during his time at CSU and played a key role in fundraising and planning for the film along with Monroe.
The next step for Monroe is to create classroom versions for middle school and high school students in hopes of passing information on to the next generation. The one-hour film will be streamlined to 45 minutes for high school and 20 minutes for middle school. A Japanese version of the film is in the works as well. The work is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission.
Monroe, Fausch and a group of five American science teachers are headed to Japan this August with the intention of exchanging ideas with Japanese teachers and brainstorming ways to optimize the use of these new versions in classrooms.
"We hope the trip will expose these science teachers to Japanese science centers, schools and cultures," Monroe said. "They’ll meet Japanese teachers and learn the differences between U.S. and Japanese schools systems. They can learn from one another and interact and share ideas about how the video could be used best, as well as discuss their science programs and explore collaborative teaching programs."
For more information, visit www.riverwebs.org.