Carbondale students gathering youth perspectives on Gulf disaster |

Carbondale students gathering youth perspectives on Gulf disaster

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Courtesy Rick CarlsonColorado Rocky Mountain School seniors Jared Carlson, right, and Luke Newbury are in New Orleans for their CRMS senior project, which includes shooting a documentary about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and youth perspectives on that and other recent disasters in the region.

CARBONDALE – Colorado Rocky Mountain School seniors Jared Carlson and Luke Newbury had already planned to travel to New Orleans this spring to help build Habitat for Humanity houses for their senior service project.

But the recent oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and its impacts in the Gulf Coast region presented another opportunity for the aspiring young filmmakers.

“The oil spill changed our focus a little bit,” Carlson said. “Now, we’ll also be filming a documentary, focusing on the youth of Louisiana and some of their perspectives.

“It’s something we never hear about … what it’s like growing up in such a volatile area that’s affected by so many disasters,” he said.

The region is still recovering from the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina five years ago. Now, the region’s inhabitants are dealing with what could be one of the worst environmental disasters in history.

“We also want to talk to the fishermen and some of the other people who are affected,” Carlson said. “I’m just curious if people are positive and hopeful, if they’re depressed, or if they don’t want to live around there anymore.

“We’ll just put ourselves out there and see what comes out of it,” he said, adding they may also try to arrange to help with some of the efforts to clean birds affected by the oil spill.

Carlson’s older brother, Anders, is a student at CU-Boulder studying film. They plan to use some of his high-definition video equipment for their project.

The three-week CRMS senior projects are among the requirements for graduating from the independent college-preparatory school in Carbondale. Students often travel to other parts of the country or abroad for projects ranging from health services in developing countries to learning organic farming techniques.

Carlson and Newbury left earlier this week to drive the 750 miles to New Orleans, an experience in and of itself.

The two will be in New Orleans until May 29, and will still be helping out with Habitat as originally planned, in addition to their video project.

They also intend to post regular blog updates on their experiences. Follow them at

Upon their return, Carlson and Newbury will report on their experiences and show their video as part of their senior project presentations at school. They also hope to arrange for a showing to the broader community at some point.

For more about the CRMS Senior and Interim service projects, visit