(Written by Jeannie Wiley Wolf, Staff Writer for The Courier. Story originally published on April 18, 2017).
A University of Findlay student has chosen flooding as the topic for her senior capstone project.
Sarah Stubbs of Akron has been working since October to create an interactive documentary that will provide information about the flooding problems in Findlay and Hancock County. The completed project, “Findlay Floods: An Interactive Documentary Contextualizing Hancock County’s Floods and Flood Mitigation,” launches Wednesday on the Hancock Historical Museum’s website.
“It’s been fun. It’s exciting to see it manifest on the actual website,” said Stubbs.
A double major in English literature and journalism, Stubbs said the spark for her idea may have come about last year when she worked on her English capstone project which dealt with sustainability efforts on the UF campus.
“I’ve always been interested in environmental issues,” she said. “And I was interested in flooding because, environmentally, I was curious as to what was going on with the benefits of going with Stantec versus the Army Corps of Engineers because of certain federal regulations. And I know that Findlay has lots of oil, so I was just curious.”
Stubbs also wanted to find out what some of the major players had to say in regards to flooding, including people from the farming community and those representing the city.
“I guess the other reason I became interested in it, I’m a bartender at Dark Horse, so I hear people talk about it. And it’s so interesting that people have just such strong opinions and their opinions are so diverse,” she said.
Another piece of the puzzle came from one of Stubbs’ instructors, Megan Adams, an assistant professor of communication at UF who has worked with the museum on a farm narrative project.
“I’m really interested in the types of projects she’s done. And she has experience in interactive documentary filmmaking,” Stubbs explained. “So what I’m doing is like a baby version of what she did for her dissertation.”
According to the university’s website, Adams’ dissertation featured an interactive web-based documentary focused on an area near the place she was raised in McDowell County, West Virginia.
“When she taught us about those types of projects, I knew I wanted to do something like that, like a hybrid video, writing and the historical archival element, too,” said Stubbs.
Museum director Sarah Sisser said she’s excited about the potential for the project.
“I think it’s a very innovative approach to documenting and archiving this type of history,” she said. “Historically the river was such an economic driver for the community and for the county. And historically, I think we did a better job of utilizing that asset for transportation and development,” Sisser said. “So I think that’s an important part going forward in the conversation about flood mitigation, is how we can once again be able to utilize the river as a real resource.”
Stubbs spent time researching old newspaper articles and digging for information online.