Eighth-grader helps Sustain Hudson advance its messageNick Persinger isn’t your typical middle-schooler. Close to two years ago, when he was in the sixth grade, Persinger started attending meetings of Sustain Hudson, a group of local residents who work to promote the adoption of sustainable practices within the community.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Nick Persinger isn’t your typical middle-schooler.
Close to two years ago, when he was in the sixth grade, Persinger started attending meetings of Sustain Hudson, a group of local residents who work to promote the adoption of sustainable practices within the community.
Persinger was by far the youngest member of the group, but he didn’t let that deter him.
While being only the youth at the meetings was intimidating at first, he enjoyed learning from the other group members and kept coming back.
Many of his peers think he’s crazy to hang out with adults and talk about sustainability, he said, “but the truth is, if being crazy is what we have to do to make a change, then I’ll do it.”
He’s recruited a couple of friends to attend Sustain Hudson meetings with him.
“Even if we can get just one out of 100, it is still going to make some kind of difference,” Persinger said. “It is going to impact not only them, but the people around them.”
Now an eighth-grader, Persinger has produced a video to promote the group and introduce the concept of sustainability.
The 18-minute “Take the Hike” video opens with Sustain Hudson members giving their definitions of sustainability. Individual members then address a variety of local topics related to it, including energy conservation, supporting Hudson businesses, the St. Croix River and Hudson’s urban forest.
“Sustainability means making as little of a footprint as possible on the earth,” explains Ann Mitchell, principal of Houlton Elementary School.
Sustain Hudson President Stewart Erickson says sustainability is often considered to have three components -- the environment, the economy and society -- and that he would add a fourth, spirituality.
The tech-savvy Persinger produced the video largely on his own. It was shot last July and premiered on YouTube in mid-August. To view the short documentary, go to YouTube.com and enter the title, “Take the Hike.”
The video also is being shown on The River Channel, the local cable access channel 15, and at MacXprts/Digital Garage and Hudson Flower Shop.
Persinger used a camcorder to shoot the video. He set it on a tripod, gave the players an outline of what he wanted them to talk about, and pushed the button.
He edited the video using Final Pro Cut and iMovie software, and also produced most the background music, using the Garage Band application on a Macintosh computer. A violinist and keyboard player, Persinger also recorded some of the music.
“Take the Hike” features:
--Erickson talking about energy conservation measures that homeowners can take,
--Judy Freud and MacXprts/Digital Garage owner Greg Tellijohn encouraging people to patronize locally-owned businesses,
--Mitchell describing the Hudson School District’s R3 sustainability ground and explaining its work,
--Freud talking about the importance of the St. Croix River and natural environment, and
--Ken Holman, the head of Minnesota’s Urban Forestry Program and a Hudson resident, explaining the role of the city of Hudson Tree Board.
Persinger also has created a Sustain Hudson application for Android-powered devices such as tablets, cell phones and MP3 players.
The app provides quick links to the group’s website (www.sustainhudson.org), blog (www.sustainhudson.weebly.com) and Facebook page, as well as other features.
Persinger said he started using personal computers as a toddler and by second grade knew his way around them pretty well. Now he writes programs.
“Breaking something is the key to learning something new,” he said. “If you break something, you learn to fix it. I’ve broken many things.”
His father’s job with Donaldson Company, a worldwide provider of filtration systems, helped pique Persinger’s interest in environmental issues.
Rick Persinger talked about a project involving parts for wind turbines, which led his son to begin studying alternative energy sources and energy saving technologies.
“It brought me to this discovery that our community has a sustainability group,” Persinger said.
Ann Mitchell invited him to his first Sustain Hudson meeting. Persinger’s mother, Lisa, is a kindergarten teacher at Houlton Elementary.
Persinger also is a Hudson Middle School representative on the district’s R3 team.
“Not a lot of young people are into sustainability, at the middle school at least,” he said. “We’re trying to change that. We’ve already built up our audience of middle-aged people, so we’re trying to reach more young adults and kids.”