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2024 High School Winners

Invasive Species

Saving The Bosque

Jack Barkhurst

Corrales International School Albuquerque, NM

Jack Barkhurst is in 12th grade at Corrales International School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He found out about the World of 8 Billion contest when his history teacher brought it to his attention as he was searching for college scholarships. After looking through the information about the topics, he felt drawn to making a video on invasive species. Jack wanted to document a nearby forest, known as the Bosque, where invasive species are crowding out native cottonwood trees. His parents had an influence on his awareness of the environment when he was younger, and through them he became aware of the cottonwood’s invasive competitor, the Siberian elm. While doing his research, he was surprised to learn how closely tied invasive species are to human population growth.

To create his video, Jack started out by writing a rough draft of the script and then piecing together what footage would be needed for each line of narration. He then ventured into the Bosque twice a month from the end of fall to early March in order to get different clips that fully represented the unique ecosystem in his backyard. Jack took a film class through a dual credit college program in the past, but this was his first time creating a film from start to finish. It was difficult to fit all of the information into one minute and he had to cut out parts, but he shared that the overall process of filming and being in nature was very enjoyable. He said that students should “pick a topic you know a lot about because that helped, and if you have an issue in your own community, go out and document it – that’s a great way to explain the issue.”

Jack is also the vice president of National Honor Society at his school and has led environmental projects such as trash clean ups and recycling initiatives in his community. He loves longboarding and going on runs, especially through the Bosque. His Dad owns a lavender farm with three alpacas and a ton of chickens, and Jack enjoys helping out at the greenhouse with his father on weekends. He will attend the University of New Mexico in the fall on a scholarship, where he will study environmental planning as well as design, film or photography. Jack is inspired by how climate activist Greta Thunberg started getting involved in these issues at such a young age and overcame her social anxiety to travel and speak at conferences around the world. He will use his award money towards college but also plans to donate some to a charity that will help to combat invasive species. This summer, he is looking forward to a six-week backpacking trip through New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona.

Saving The Bosque

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