College students’ PSA shows a different fate for fossil fuel plastics: Educator Spotlight on Bonnie Mitchell

Apr 10, 2023 | Classroom Activities, Community News, Educator Spotlight

Wayfinder Society is for environmental educators who believe in the power of collective action. It is an online platform hosting a robust offering of classroom and teaching resources that makes it easy for educators to create a fun, dynamic, and engaging classroom and to inspire their students through environmental awareness and action. Every other month, we highlight an educator in our network.

Bonnie Mitchell is a professor of Digital Arts at Bowling Green State University.

When we were contacted by her about the opportunity to have her animation students create a public service announcement, or PSA, for us, we were excited about the idea, but little did we know what would come out of it. Every year, Bonnie’s students are tasked with working with an environmental non-profit to get real world experience creating content for a client. After confirming Algalita’s collaboration, we asked her and her students to begin by watching The Story of Plastic documentary to learn about the plastics issue. We then had a productive post-viewing discussion, and brainstormed some ideas for the general goal of the PSA.  

In groups, they set off to develop three different storyboards, which they later presented to us.

We selected our favorite, which they took into production stage. With each student taking on different roles of illustrator, director, animator, voice actor, producer, etc., they created a full animation short. When they presented their almost-final version, we were blown away.  

These students went above and beyond creating a beautiful story, and professionally designed animation for us. More than that, they showed us exactly how young people can contribute their unique skills to inspire and create change.  

See the process from story to animation below:

Animation storyboard screenshot.

A screenshot of the storyboard created by animation students as the precursor to their animated short. 

Thank you to John Fowler, Megan Smith, Claudia Hoerr, Kiriana Byrd, Savannah Baileys and Professor Bonnie Mitchell of Bowling Green State University for your incredible work and contribution to our cause!


Coming soon: Have your students share their own vision for a future where plastic pollution is unthinkable in Wayfinder Society’s Student Hub (launching August 2023).