Making Media Making Change Student Blogger Study USA

Time Flies

two white goats nibble on a pine branch.

Each term, one participant from each HECUA program takes on the role of student blogger, sending regular dispatches from the field. Carter Starkey (he/him/his) is HECUA’s student blogger for Making Media, Making Change Spring 2021. He is student at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, majoring in communications. Read on for his next post!

A person with short sleeves walks their black dog past my window, I hope that the coldest days have passed. I’m thinking back to other periods in my life and I am truly shocked by the contrast. The world doesn’t slow down when you want it to, and rather than fighting against that fact, I’m learning to live alongside it, I have to. That much is becoming clear.

The SPNN building on a much sunnier, spring day. Photo credit, Carter Starkey.

In class this week we left space to talk about (and process) the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer that murdered George Floyd last spring. Having a space to talk about that was more important than I could ever realize. It’s something I would’ve shied away from in other settings, something that I wouldn’t want to think about, much less talk about openly with peers. It gives me the sense of hope that the trial itself does not. I look up to see helicopters in the sky and blue bleeds through the grey.

Recently, I had my first opportunity to visit Lily Springs Farm, the site of my internship this semester. I cannot overstate the importance of that visit for me and the ways it accelerated my sense of purpose this semester so far. Being out in the world gives me the freedom to learn. Walking the farm and the forest that they take such good care of, I listened intently to Elle, the farm manager. She talked through not only what the goals of the farm are, but why they have those goals, how their work serves the wildlife that surrounds them, and vise versa. Ultimately, the people at LSF work alongside their land, not just on it. 

Thinking through the lens of a media maker, being out in the world does another thing: it forces me to consider how I can bring this experience to others. While at LSF, I learned about tree pruning. Pruning is the process of removing growth from a plant for the benefit of the plant itself. That may look like removing dead and hanging branches or limbs growing toward the base of the tree rather than outwards. When looking at fruit trees, it’s more focused on the architecture of the tree. We’re thinking about how it will best hold weight when the time comes for it to bear fruit. As much as removing growth can seem counterintuitive, it helps teach the tree where its energy is best spent. My challenge now is to turn footage I took while at the farm into a movie that conveys that same information.


Elle (right) describes the differences between a managed undergrowth and unmanaged. Examples split by the trail- left is managed and right is nearly untouched. Photo credit, Carter Starkey.

Finally, over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent lots of time thinking about my own future. How am I going to put these skills to work? Further, how will I find purpose, sustenance, and life within those ventures… Not exactly an easy question, so it’s one I’ll be thinking about for a long time. These blog posts help me process those ideas. In class, we talk a lot about what media can do – the ways that it affects the world. However, we rarely talk about the paths each person takes to their end goal, making a difference. It’s an insecurity that all young media makers have, are their ears for our messages to fall on, or are we doomed to shout into the void? If you feel like shouting with me, I’ll be here.


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