Student Reporting Labs: A Trip to Congaree National Park

Photo taken on November 1st at Congaree National Park.

On the first day of November in Hopkins, South Carolina, eleven students walked the trails of Congaree National Park. Mosquitos crawled all over their hair and bodies; they swatted at them with every step they took. Despite these conditions, and the daunting certainty that they'd be itching from the bites for several weeks to follow, the students interviewed a park ranger outside. The natural lighting was too good to pass up. They persevered through the constant bug bites in order to tell a story – a story about the dangerous levels of chemicals found in the Congaree waters.

The students are a part of PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program, which connects middle and high school students to local PBS stations and news professionals in their community to produce original, student-generated video reports. PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs are located all around the country, with four located in the Carolinas. This specific Student Reporting Lab is from Legacy Charter High School, which is located in Greenville, South Carolina.

Before going on their trip, the students of Legacy Charter High School made sure that they were prepared. They had to decide what visuals they wanted to capture and what shots they would need to get to complete their project. Because the students came prepared, they were able to get the appropriate footage in a timely manner.  

Once at the park, the students interviewed a park ranger, asking him prepared questions about both his job and the park itself. After the interview, the students walked through the park to capture different visuals of the area, also focusing on recording the natural sounds within the park, like the birds and crickets chirping. Not being able to find much wildlife in the park, the students flipped when they found a lizard under a rock, and every cameraperson quickly ran to cover the exciting scene! The Congaree National Park suffered a lot of destruction from Hurricane Mathew, which, unfortunately, was very evident. To get a behind-the-scenes look at the student’s field trip, check out our album!