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Portraits of Sustainability in Putney by Putney Central School 8th graders

The Putney Central School 8th grade Social Studies class invites the public to “Portraits of Sustainability in Putney,” a public screening of short films which highlight members of our community whose work contributes to the sustainability of the community. The screening will take place at Next Stage Arts Project in Putney, 15 Kimball Hill Road, on December 18 at 7 pm.

As part of their “Exploring Sustainability” curriculum, students in Leah Toffolon’s 8th grade Social Studies class at Putney Central School considered definitions of sustainability (which the Sustainable Schools Project of Shelburne Farms defines as: “when the environmental, economic and social needs of a society are met in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”) Working with photographer Evie Lovett, who partnered with the Vermont Folklife Center, they learned the fundamentals of ethnographic research, interviewing techniques and media production. Each student selected a member of the community to interview and photograph and produced a short film, a portrait of this individual and the work they do. Film subjects include individuals working in the fields of mental health, food, farming, education, conservation, solar power, town government, and road and land management.

Putney Foodshelf Coordinator and interview subject Sue Kochinskas described the interviewing process: “I was really surprised at how thoughtful my interviewers were. Being interviewed by the Putney Central School middle schoolers reminded me of just how capable they are of grasping the tough concepts of hunger and poverty that the rest of us adults continually try to figure out.”

The Vermont Folklife Center’s “Discovering Community” Education programs encourage students to learn to be storytellers; to explore and capture stories in their communities by doing primary source research; to listen to others’ stories, thereby building empathy and compassion; and to come to see themselves as part of a wider, interwoven community.

For more information, contact:

Leah Toffolon:
Evie Lovett:
Vermont Folklife Center: