At High Tech High Media Arts, the curriculum for students is frequently interdisciplinary. This means many collaborations between instructors across diverse disciplines. I wanted to try something new and so I took on the challenge to develop a project with John O’Reilly, our school’s environmental science teacher. After a summer of searching for a garden to host a digital art and science exhibition, it turned out that there was an old navy garden just a few blocks away from our school. It was active in the 1920’s but neglected after the navy had moved on many years ago. After much paper work (and leg work) we secured this magnificent garden for our students to develop and discover. John quickly got the students blossoming a gorgeous set of plots with flowers and food. I worked with the students to develop multimedia projects revolving around environmental science with strong components in media production and visual design. Some students made films, others produced animations.  A few groups even produced environmental sound installations revolving around acoustic ecology and bird watching. One group pursued photography by researching local organic produce availability and producing a recipe book. All students also grew a plant at home and documented its growth through time-lapse photography. We exhibited these plant films on flat screens buried in the dirt. Quickly, we realized that there was opportunity for the entire senior teaching team (across disciplines) to cultivate projects from their students for this final winter garden exhibition.


The Experience of Environment
Environmental Science & Multimedia
Instructors Margaret Noble and John O’Reilly
Science and digital art came together in sound, video and interactive installations that examined the social, economic and physical complexities of our environment.
Art & Humanities
Instructors Josh Krause and Rachel Nichols
Inspired by the Japanese Shoji tradition, students wrote Haiku poems and silk screened them onto hand-built lamps that illuminated the landscape on exhibition night.
Fractal Projections
Art, Mathematics & Multimedia
Instructor David Stahnke
Through mathematical analysis and computer graphic design, students produced fractal art slides that were cast onto the interior garden walls.
The Hidden Garden
Environmental Science
Instructor John O’Reilly
Creating and nurturing a community garden, students explored environmental science themes like biodiversity, composting/waste reduction, nutrient cycling, and sustainability.


28 Day Plant Stop Motion

Created by the entire 12th Grade Class


Created by L.B., S.L., and V.A.
Experimental film examining the environmental problems of deforestation.
2010 IVIE AWARDS NOMINEE: Best Humanities Film

Quantity Over Quality

Created by J.C. and N. A.
Narrative film about the nutritional short comings of school lunches.
2010 Sharing Solutions: Student Sustainability Film Festival – Top 10 Finalist

Where Did The Honey Bees Go?

Created by L.T. and S.B.

Photo essay and documentary about the environmental importance of bees.
First Place Winner in the 2010 California Student Media Festival for Best Photo Essay

The Wonderful World of Food

Created by K.M. and S.F.
Do you know what you are putting into your body?
1st place winner in the 2010 California Student Media Festival Best Acting
Top 10 Finalist – 2010 Sharing Solutions: Student Sustainability Film Festival

Our Wacky World

Created by W.V.
Parody of a 1990’s styled show for children that looks at the problem of invasive species.

What Does It Take To Grow A Garden?

Created by M.G. and G.V.
Documentary on a start-up school and community garden.

Recycle Your World

Created by S.B.
Documentary film which examines the creative choices we can make to improve our environment.
2010 IVIE AWARDS NOMINEE: Best Documentary Film

The Life of a Cigarette Butt

Created by A.A. and R.S.
Stop-motion animation tracking to life of a cigarette butt.