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2017 Middle School Winners

2017 Ocean Health


By: Claire Knutsen, Julia Loritz, Tae Ellisen

Woodland Intermediate School
Appleton, Wisconsin


Sixth graders Claire Knutsen, Julia Loritz, and Tae Ellison are classmates at Woodland Intermediate School in Appleton, Wisconsin. They entered the contest after their teacher, Ms. Ulli Balistreri, told her class about it. Tae is very interested in science and environmental issues, so she took the lead on research. While they were studying the issue, the girls were inspired by a realization. They tell us, “People across the globe do not have equal impacts on the environment. Here in America, just one person can make a difference if they change their behavior.”

Claire was inspired to create an animated video when she saw her older brother using a similar technique for a class project. Ultimately, they ended up creating 644 slides, combining real photos with clip art and drawings to produce a stop motion style video. The girls agreed that the most challenging aspect of the production process was compromising over all of the ideas that they had.

All three girls have a diverse array of interests. Claire, the youngest of three siblings, participates in competitive dance. Julia spoke fondly of her family’s cottage up north where she spends her summers swimming, inner tubing, and water skiing. Tae was described as a hilarious and amazing friend who also happens to be a talented poet.


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