ISU Magazine

Volume 42 | Number 2 | Spring 2012


The Boise River

Pour It From the River

Spring 2012 Issue | By Chris Gabettas

ISU's Carol Moore creates video to teach school children and community about water resources

Idaho school children are learning how water from the Boise River ends up in their kitchen taps, thanks to a 9-minute video, edited and produced by Carol Moore, a December graduate of the Idaho State University geosciences program.

Titled "The Boise River: From Snow to River to You," the video combines 3-D satellite imagery, old movie clips and sleek graphics to illustrate the science behind the water cycle and the importance of measuring snow pack in the mountains above the Treasure Valley.

The video targets children in fourth through sixth grades, but the information is valuable to anyone who uses or manages water, including power companies, the agricultural industry, recreationists and state agencies, said Moore, who lives in Idaho Falls. Her goal was to create a video that all audiences could understand.

"The concepts are so important. Our natural resources are a gift. We need to recognize, appreciate and respect them," said Moore, a former computer programmer who enrolled in ISU a decade ago to pursue a second career in geosciences.

Fascinated by remote-sensing technologies such as LiDAR - which enable scientists to view geography in three dimensions - Moore wanted to tell the story of the Boise watershed in an engaging way. She combined old film clips of early snow pack surveys with sophisticated 3-D satellite imagery of landscape and terrain. The script was provided by the National Resource Conservation Service and Boise Watershed Education Center.

Moore called on an Idaho Falls musician to compose the music score and a former colleague to narrate the video. Everyone volunteered their time and resources.

The video was funded by the community outreach portion of a $15 million grant on climate change secured by EPSCoR- Idaho's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and funded by the National Science Foundation.

"I thought Carol did an awesome job. The video nicely summarizes the role snow and the Snow Survey play in managing water resources," said Boise-based NRCS hydrologist Jeff Anderson, who wrote the script with Cindy Busche, education specialist at the Boise Watershed Education Center.

Busche plans to use the video in environmental education and community outreach classes available through the Bogus Basin Snow School, a program designed to teach children about science and water resources.

"I think people don't understand the importance of water-not just where it comes from, but why we should keep in clean," said Busche. "The video gets them to care about water and why they should protect it.

To view Moore's video "The Boise River: From Snow to River to You," visit the Department of Geosciences website. You can view additional outreach videos produced by the Department of Geosciences, including the 1983 Borah Earthquake and water's impact on eastern Idaho, at the same link.

A Virtual Field Trip

Todd Brown, the curriculum coordinator for Idaho Falls School District 91, is encouraging his science teachers to use the video, noting it can serve as a virtual field trip, transporting students to the Treasure Valley without leaving the classroom.

The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has posted the video on its Idaho Snow Survey website. NRCS offices through the Pacific Northwest have applauded the work of Moore and her team. One top official has suggested that regional NRCS offices produce similar videos to educate communities about watersheds.

Moore's professor and project advisor-geosciences researcher Nancy Glenn-says the video illustrates ISU's commitment to share research and technology developed in the University with the outside community.

As for Moore, she admits she's a bit surprised by all of the attention, but believes the video is a valuable educational tool.

"I've been shocked and thrilled at the response-especially the fact that the video is being used and not sitting on a desk somewhere,'' she said.