Should. Could. Would. Did. These four words encompass the spirit of action within Girl ScoutTroop 2715. In the past year, this group have used their curiosity about science, environmentalconservation, and community service to make waves in Northeast Indianapolis so much so a documentary film is in production highlighting their service Water Scouts.
According to water-scouts.org, the film is an “environmental coming-of-age story” that showcases the young girls in Troop 2715’s efforts to team up with local activists in a “mission to educate, protect, and explore their neighborhood’s natural resources” along the White River near Indianapolis.
Indianapolis native and Water Scouts Director Anna Zanoni says they are taking a risk with this film, “Fundamentally, [Water Scouts] looks to capture how Hoosiers define, reimagine, and protect their idea of ‘home’.” She adds “These girls are the spirit of Indianapolis- they wholeheartedly care about their neighbors, where they live, and are lending a hand to be the difference they want to see in the world,” said Zanoni. Being from the same neighborhood as the girls in Troop 2715, Zanoni was thrilled to highlight their efforts. “If any story needs to be told, it’s this one. These young people did not ask for permission or wait for others to one day fix the problems they see. No. They got to work” Zanoni said.
Water Scouts seeks to understand and present the little ways anyone can be a stewards of conservation by showing the network of people- from volunteers at Mud Creek Conservancy to local History buff Sampson Deon Levingston and activist Jade Solano- it takes to establish and uphold the intimate identity of an area.
Water Scouts officially kicked off production on Earth Day. As of this month the film has raised 10% of their goal, through grassroots donations of $20 or less. This donation average speaks to the personal interest Hoosiers must see their local stories told. Producer of Water Scouts Turner Fair says that Midwestern stories often do not get the attention they deserve.
“I’ve worked in the TV/film industry for over 10 years- people are tired of the same old story. We are too. That’s why we’re trying our hardest to tell stories about real people.” However, Fair will speak plainly when asked how hard it is to get the proper resources to tell wholesome stories.
“Financing for positive documentaries [like Water Scouts] is almost impossible because all people want to fund about the environment is doom and gloom- environmental crisis, pollution, that kind of thing. While that is a reality, we are challenging the genre of environmental documentaries by saying, ‘we can the facts in a way that also inspires hope.’
Fair continues, “ With a community based documentary like Water Scouts is, the traditional model for film funding is not an option. Nothing is being sold here. A story is being told, an important one.”
To combat this institutional pushback, the production has launched a fundraising campaign. The goal is to raise enough money to be able to cover costs of production (think renting camera equipment, travel expenses, etc.) as well as raising money to donate to all individuals and organizations featured and the documentary itself.
The historic exodus from Indianapolis’ urban center to far-off surburban sprawls exposed once untounched wetlands, streams, and woodland to development, pollution, and deforestation. What if the environment did not need be sacrificed in the name of progress?
The film has already received seed funding from Indiana Humanities through their Waterways Film Project. Furthermore, they have partnered with local 501(c) nonprofit Kheprw Institute, KI, to manage all funds raised to ensure individuals, companies, and organizational donations are tax deductible.
KI, the fiscal stweart of the project is located on the Neareastside of Indianapolis, has worked tirelessly to employ environmental standards and conservation efforts in the mid north community for the last 20 years. No one asked this intergenerational cohort ofcommunity minority leadership to take onsome of these environmental challenges. They so as environmental issues of the day began to encroach on the very community they serve. As people began to move out of the city Seeking cleaner air and better schools urban environmental standards became a nascent after thought for policy makers and industries that profited on its destruction. the poor black and brown urban community where left to deal with the damages, sold up the literal and preverbial stream by their old neighbours for county profit.
To find out more check out the documentary’s official instagram page @water_scouts and visit their website water-scouts.org.