On Saturday, January 24, Youth Cinemedia will screen nearly 20 films made by high-risk, mostly Latino youth from Santa Barbara as part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The screening is at 10 a.m. in Victoria Hall Theater. The following film, posted here as part of Independent.com’s occasional “Street Focus” column, will be one of those screened on Saturday.

When I went to Honda Valley Park, I thought I was going to plant big trees, at least six feet tall. But to my surprise, the trees were very small. Despite their size, we had some documenting to do for Youth CineMedia (YCM) and the City of Santa Barbara.

We started off by walking for at least 30 minutes in the woods to get to the tree planting area. I didn’t know beforehand the project would involve so much walking and hard work. But the cool part about it is that I got paid for my work with student stipends provided through YCM by the City of Santa Barbara Creeks Division. I also learned a lot of new things about native planting and technology.

I was in charge of taking pictures of the city workers and kids from the community planting trees. The city was planting new trees to help the environment and the animals. It turned out to be a long process of digging and planting. It also took a long time to do the interviews and camera work.

The interesting part of the project was the huge water-filled bags used to give the trees water for weeks. I liked how they were custom made to help these little trees grow. Before this project, I didn’t know what native plants were and how they were planted. Now I am excited to know.

Through this project I also learned how to use a video camera and how to take pictures. It was really fun! It made me feel good because I learned so many things. Our final project was an educational video about native planting. I hope viewers learn from our video the importance of recycling and saving trees.

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