Deep Dive

On June 14, 2018, the Community Resilience Guild hosted a screening of Deep Dive: A Midwestern Legacy in the Florida Keys. Made by Goshen College students, the film tells the story of Goshen’s Marine Biology Program as well has the unique relationship between Goshen College and the town of Layton, Florida. After the screening, Resilience Guild Fellow David Leaman-Miller hosted a panel discussion with filmmakers and faculty.

To dive deeper and explore all of the related content mapped out ahead of the event, visit the Deep Dive Collection.

Watch the Full Panel Discussion (Highlights are below)

The panel was moderated by David Leaman-Miller who is a Community Resilience Guild Fellow and was one of the filmmakers. The Panelists were film student Riley Mills, film professor Kyle Hufford, and science professors Jody Saylor and Ryan Sensenig.

The Full Deep Dive documentary is not yet available online. Here is the trailer as well as a promotional piece and a behind the scenes clip created by FiveCore Media.

Segments from the Panel Discussion

What were the initial conversations about creating this documentary, and how did you see it advancing the program or research being done in Florida?

“It would be a great opportunity for the biology students to learn from the communication students as well, not just the communication students learning the biology part.”

– Kyle Hufford

How did having film students along change the Marine Biology Course?

“For the first time Communication Students got me thinking about our course as a story. It was such a new concept and I had such a great time, and I think all of our biology students do having to think suddenly about lighting and sound – and the editing process blew my mind.”

– Jody Saylor

What do you think you and other students gained from going to Florida to make this documentary opposed to studying film in a classroom?

“It was a very unique opportunity to expand beyond what we were there to learn. We were also sort of absorbing what everyone else around us was doing as well.”

– Kyle Hufford

What do you hear from the Students after the Marine Biology Course that you wouldn’t hear after one of the courses that you teach on campus.?

“I have heard students say every course ought to be like this. Like, this is what learning is. This is what teaching is.”

– Jody Saylor

“What Marine Biology does is it kind of infuses students with a whole new way of thinking about an area of the world – a worldview shift similar to those things you get on SST or a trip to Kenya. You couldn’t rewire the way you look at the world without being there and smelling it and tasting it.”

– Ryan Sensenig

What do you think you and other students gained from going to Florida to make this documentary opposed to studying film in a classroom?

“Even when we had a full cut [of the film] it changed again, and it changed again, and it changed again and it still feels like it’s not done even though we have a polished product.”

– Riley Mills

Who do you (scientists and filmakers) see as your audience?

“Right now it plays really well to the local community, to alum, to people that went there. There’s a whole group of people that travel down there through Goshen High School and through other institutions.”

– Kyle Hufford

“I was also surprised hot it kind of generated some excitement and conversation among current students. Similar to what Jody I think was saying about telling the story while you’re immersed in it. Our current campus I think got to realize “wow, this is unique.”

– Ryan Sensenig

And then a hurricane came.

“Our facility had about two feet of water in it, and we have had to make some significant changes due to FEMA regulations about how we can use the ground floor which [was our lab].”

– Ryan Sensenig

What is the role that storytelling and communication and messaging and language can play in translating some of this scientific research?

“How we learn and how we pass on knowledge is through story. Humans are hard-wired for story. It’s so innate. We understand it without having to think about it.”

– Kyle Hufford

“I think it’s more about language than it is necessarily about whether you do story or we do story. I think we both do story, but I think it’s about language and often we use very different words meaning the same thing.”

– Ryan Sensenig

If we took students from the florida Keys and brought them to the Midwest, what might a Deep Dive into this Goshen look like?

“I bet they would be shocked to realize how much the ecological landscape – the way it looks now isn’t the way it was. We were 45% wetland and the forests were almost all clear-cut. I bet a Floridian coming here … would be surprised to dive into the environmental history.”

– Ryan Sensenig

“In Florida students kept saying, “I don’t understand why I don’t see more people composting and why don’t more people have gardens in their backyard?” And I was like, “well, this is coral. What are you going to grow on coral.” Realizing that you can’t always take the things that work in your spot and automatically transfer them somewhere else.”

– Jody Saylor

Do you have reflections on the personal resilience that it took to put this project together?

“We did have to figure out the underwater filmmaking. That was a big hurdle … We actually had researched and bought a [underwater] housing for one of our cameras … and then we got there and realized it was so bright you really couldn’t see the screen so you were just kind of blindly shooting.”

– Kyle Hufford

“Let’s say you spend eight months writing a paper, you are going to be so sick of that paper you are going to be ready for it to be done. I think that often times with filmmaking it’s not so different, and there comes a point when you have to find your enthusiasm.”

– Riley Mills

How has the Marine Biology program shown resilience through it’s ability to adapt?

“I feel the need to constantly be story telling about the program. This is what’s going on down there. Here’s what we’re trying to do. Here’s why we think it’s important.”

– Ryan Sensenig

“The way that the program began was more like a natural history course of the marine system, so memorizing the organisms, but having Ryan come on and being an ecologist, it was a new way to think about it and to think about all of the connections right between the different players.”

– Jody Saylor

What reflections do you have on the idea of “resilience as relationships” as it pertains to the social and ecological systems surrounding the marine biology program?

“One of the really common things that we were hearing back from both the students and the community while we were there was that they really wish that they had more interaction with one another.”

– Riley Mills

About The Author

David Leaman-Miller

Originally from Denver, Colorado, David Leaman-Miller graduated from Goshen College in 2017 where he studied Film and Sustainability. He currently works as a Fellow for the Community Resilience Guild and is one of the primary developers of the Goshen Guide.

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