‘Chasing Coral’ movie supports student trip

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

With the oceans warming and coral reefs suffering under the new environmental conditions, a group of Sandpoint students are prepared to do something about it.

A before and after photo of a coral reef that has recently died. Photo by The Ocean Agency.

Students of Sandpoint High School teacher John Hastings plan to travel to the Dominican Republic, where they will work hands on to fight the phenomenon of coral bleaching. An upcoming documentary screening at the Panida Theater, “Chasing Coral,” powerfully illustrates the threat to coral populations and will also raise money to help cover the costs of the students’ trip. The movie screens 7 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the Panida Theater, with donations for entry accepted at the door.

“I have been showing (the movie) in my class, and students are brought to tears,” Hastings said. “It is a powerful and impactful film. And they have always asked, ‘What can be done?’”

A widespread blight on coral reefs around the world, bleaching occurs when coral polyps lose the algae that provides their brilliant color and most of their energy. The coral takes on a ghostly white appearance and usually starves.

The good news is people are taking action to reverse the process of coral bleaching, and that will soon include Sandpoint’s own student population. According to the trip itinerary, students will fly to the Dominican Republic and connect up with a service project. They will then learn about the biology of coral and practice the snorkeling techniques needed to assist in their preservation. Of course, they’ll also have the opportunity to squeeze in some sight-seeing and recreation in between the long days assisting coral recovery. Not only will the trip be an unforgettable experience, it could also provide the basis for three college credits if students apply for it.

“It is an eight-day trip and three of those will be on the reef learning about different species, collecting data on growth and visiting with in-country experts about the state of the reef,” Hastings said. “We also have one day scheduled to plant mangroves in coastal areas needing reforestation.”

A donation at the “Chasing Coral” screening will go a long way to helping the students on their way, but it’s also a beautifully-shot and compelling documentary about the ecosystems most affected by climate change: the world’s oceans. A film that took three and a half years to make, “Chasing Coral” is edited together from 500 hours of underwater footage collected from more than 30 countries. The documentary covers an effort to record the first-ever time-lapse footage of coral bleaching.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.