The events of the First Waves Johnstown program in July of 2018 imbued a sense of urgency and amplified passion for everyone in attendance. A pollution event upstream of the program site resulted in water that was too tarnished to proceed with the paddleboarding and whitewater activities planned for local teens that day. Students that wouldn’t otherwise have the means or opportunity to experience the river were on deck for their first paddling and river surfing experiences. Instead, they focused on another aspect of the First Waves workshop – filmmaking. They learned to document their experiences and created a film they hoped would inspire others to engage in watershed conservation efforts. Their film, Upstream, is now available to view.
The final edit and filmmaking instruction was produced by Miko Reyes and the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Additional footage was provided by Phillip Thompson. Special thanks to the following sponsors and partners for making First Waves possible: