Student Success Story – Miranda Andersen

Burnaby Mountain Secondary student Miranda Andersen grew up in a beautiful rural town called Belcarra, outside of Port Moody. All her time spent outdoors has set her on a path of success in swimming, studying science and creating environmental films.

Miranda is a competitive swimmer at Simon Fraser Aquatics, and she sticks to a vigorous 6-day-a-week training schedule. She is in the water every morning, and does online learning in the evening to compensate. For Miranda, swimming is an exercise in dedication – and her sense of commitment doesn’t stop there.

Miranda cares deeply for the environment, and she works hard to make a difference. She has volunteered at the Mossom Creek salmon hatchery since age eight. In grade four, her teacher encouraged her to make a film featuring the co-founder of the Mossom Creek hatchery, Ruth Foster. From there, Miranda’s love of environmental filmmaking grew.

Including that first one in grade four, Miranda has made seven films on environmental issues that she felt needed to be addressed. Her films are between five and fifteen minutes long, and incorporate an interview with an environmental expert with footage from the outdoors. Miranda’s most recent film is called Choose Local, about the value of eating locally sourced foods.

One of her films, The Child in Nature was viewed online by a teacher in Haiti, who shared the film with her class. The teacher had her class write letters to Miranda about the film, and she responded with lesson ideas to help the students get involved in nature. This was a very special chance for Miranda to see the kinds of connections she could make through filmmaking and the impact it could have. This experience gave her the idea to produce lesson plans to go along with her films.

Last fall, with the help of a family friend, Miranda created a website where she could publish her films and lesson plans. The website is called enufsaid.ca, and all of her films can be viewed there. The site recently caught the attention of the North American Association for Environmental Education – Miranda was recognized as one of their “30 Under 30,” a title that honours individuals who are making an impact in their community.

Miranda’s films have also won several awards. Most recently, one of her films won the Nature Inspiration Award from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. She won $5000, and donated it to the Mossom Creek hatchery, where she has volunteered for many years. The hatchery burnt down a couple of years ago, and Miranda’s $5000 contribution went to help them rebuild the hatchery’s education programming and library.

Miranda loves science, and hopes to go on to study biology or marine biology. This summer, she volunteered at Wildlife Rescue in Burnaby, an organization that rehabilitates animals, and enjoyed the chance to see what she could be doing in a few years’ time. No doubt, Miranda will continue making an active difference to the environment for many years to come.