Written by: Sage Passi
We wanted to engage in a meaningful conversation with our communications intern who has a strong passion for videography, photography, fishing, camping & other related outdoor activities. Upon his arrival, we were excited about expanding our capacity to offer videos to communicate about our mission related subjects, and break down technical topics to help our community better understand how we are working to address environmental issues. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback and interest generated by the watershed community in response to his visual and written contributions, and we are looking forward to the upcoming features, stories & issues that he will be covering.
I, Sage Passi – Watershed Education Specialist, had the opportunity to converse with Seth about his role at the watershed district as an intern, videographer, photographer, social strategist and what the process has been like for him. Without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Sage: Tell me about yourself, where you attend college and some of the passions you have?
Seth: I joined the RWMWD team as a communications intern on May 1st, 2019. I’m 24 years old, and a senior attending UW-Stout (BS Management, Concentration in Management). Along with being a student and intern, I also co-founded/operate a small startup positioned as an influencing/educating brand within the outdoor industry – mainly focused on the niche sector of freshwater fishing (multi-species).
I’ll never forget the date, March 2nd, 2017, when I became a sole operator (of the startup), and in the process of fulfilling those daily duties, I discovered the passions that ultimately led me to this position with RWMWD – photo/videography, media production & educational content production/strategy.
I have become what some may call “obsessed” with learning and creating new ways to produce content that truly captivates an audience, delivers value-packed messages & is easily sharable (for all audience types, ages etc. – getting the word out for all to hear).
At first, the only outlet I had to “scratch this itch” was through fishing related subjects. However, upon interning with RWMWD, I have been able to utilize both my skill set and passions to produce content that communicates about current/relatable environmental issues, threats and the efforts being made to address them. I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity, as it not only allows me to use a broader scope in terms of content creation, strategy, & delivery, but also it allows me to leave a positive impact for our community members on a daily basis.
Sage: What drew you to want to become an intern with RWMWD?
Seth: Since day one, my father instilled me with a mindset for ecological awareness. I grew up transplanting MN native prairie plants in our family greenhouse, designing/installing native plant restoration projects throughout our yard (for pollinators) & eventually I landed a summer job (freshman year of high school – freshman year of college) working for a local ecological restoration company – installation and maintenance crew.
Eventually, I moved on and began interning with companies positioned in a variety of market sectors (none of which were environmentally focused). Long story short, I became distant and out of touch with my ecological passions. I searched social platforms looking for daily content that might fulfill what I was lacking. That’s when I found and followed RWMWD on Instagram/Facebook. One day it clicked, I was going to close the gap by interning with an organization (RWMWD) that focused on environmental and ecological awareness. I wanted to learn from local experts and at the same time, apply my skill sets to help communicate about these topics to others within our community.
Sage: This is really something that we have been looking for and needing in order to more effectively communicate and deliver messages that we aspire to provide our audiences. We want our stories to be conveyed in a dynamic, accessible and inspiring way – Seth is doing a great job of helping us with that by using his skill sets and creativity as a videographer to produce impactful content.
Sage: What was something you learned that has really impacted you, in terms of issues that the watershed is facing and working to address?
Seth: Covering/documenting controversial subjects from a governmental standpoint that is audience sensitive. Learning to walk that line was a challenge, but it was also a learning opportunity that I will use going forward in my career path.
Sage: What do you most enjoy about working with the Watershed District?
Seth: I thoroughly enjoy the RWMWD culture, passion & commitment throughout our team. No matter what it is, we all work together as one to achieve our goals. We are a family!
Sage: What is the most memorable video you’ve made, and how did it come to life?
Seth: Hands down, the most memorable video was of the Keller Golf Course Restoration/full bloom. Our Natural Resources team initially wanted to document the project mid-summer during full bloom, and possibly make a short video from the footage acquired.
I coordinated with a local drone pilot, directed the shoot and processed the media. After processing the first batch, I decided we were going to make a video, but needed more variety in our footage. Over the course of two weeks, I went back every day to acquire ground level media of the project itself, and the wildlife that calls it “home”.
What really made making this video especially fun was the camera work I put into it – I felt like an aspiring National Geographic videographer. A few shots that I wanted required patiently waiting (50+ min) for the wildlife to “cooperate” – ex. Osprey flying cinemagraphically (in range).
I also had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Keller Golf Course Superintendent, Paul Diegnau. We sorted through hundreds of GB of media that he’s gathered throughout the years, until we had exactly what we wanted. All in all, this collaboration came together seamlessly, and truly gave our audience the experience that we were hoping for.
Sage: Is there anything else that you’d like to say to the watershed community?
Seth: If you haven’t already, the next time you see an RWMWD team member(s) in the field, don’t hesitate to come up and say “hey”. We would love to meet you and explain what we are doing in your area. Also, Saturday Feb. 29th 1:00-4:00PM is the annual Phalen Freeze Fest Celebration – we truly hope to see you there – there is a link down below for more details (and other links to past video projects I’ve worked on this year)! Remember, quality water for quality life!
Phalen Freeze Fest
Educational Videos (Youtube):
Keller Golf Course Restoration – Full Bloom Video Link
Lake Phalen Restoration – Public Insights Video Link
Snail Lake Regional Park – Student Planting Video Link
Water Quality – Lake Sampling Video Link
Educational Short Clips (Facebook):
Phalen Chain of Lakes – Winter Water Trail Video Link
Remote Controlled Brush Cutter – Snail Lake Regional Park Restoration Video Link
Salt Pollution – Did You Know? Video Link
Owasso Lake – Carp Management Video Link
Owasso Chain of Lakes – Carp barriers Video Link
Aldrich Arena – Parking Lot Revamp Video Link
Prescribed Burn – Reflection Video Video Link