The Global Search for Education: Interview with Creator Jenny Morgan on Stand Up

C. M. Rubin
4 min readNov 14, 2023

This month, audiences can screen Stand Up on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Stand Up is an animated music video by Jenny Morgan, a grassroots activist.

In the face of a 2023 law threatening Ohio parks with drilling, Salt Fork State Park’s animals sing an inspiring tune, urging humans to rally against fracking. Witness Mama Deer, Little Duckling, Blue Heron and more as they stand up to protect Ohio parks forever.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Jenny Morgan.

Jenny, what inspired you to create Stand Up, blending animation and music to advocate for the preservation of Ohio’s parks? What message do you hope it conveys to viewers?

I love nature and animals, and I love parks and music. I am a songwriter, so I knew I wanted to write a song to try and help raise awareness about this issue. The inspiration for employing animation came when I was on a Zoom call with a group of activists. We were discussing how effective the hero, Smokey the Bear, has been in saving our parks from forest fires. I thought to myself, we need a heroine (Mama Deer) to help save our parks from gas and oil industrialization.

The fact that we have so many beautiful parks in Ohio and across this country has always amazed me. Just think how much money developers could make from building on our public park lands, and yet they are not allowed to do so. Our parks were set aside many years ago as a gift, a very precious gift for us all to enjoy now and forever. At least that was the vision of John Muir, President Theodore Roosevelt, and others.

As a preschool teacher and Founder of the Leave No Child Inside Central Ohio Collaborative, a group that works to get children and families off their screens and connected with the natural world, I know how critical time in nature is for our children’s healthy development. We all need these beloved natural spaces to be preserved in perpetuity and to remain safe and clean. The thought of my beloved Ohio parks and wildlife areas becoming industrial zones spurred me to action.

I hope my Stand Up music video, and related short film by the same name, conveys a heartfelt, resonating PLEA: Our parks and our forest friends need our help now. I hope the message comes through that time is of the essence, and that the time is now to STAND UP to defend our beloved parks and to demand that laws are passed to ensure that these cherished natural spaces are protected forever. It’s just as Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Your music video features a diverse cast of animal characters from Salt Fork State Park. Can you share your creative process in developing these characters and how they contribute to the narrative?

Because the animals of our Ohio parks and wildlife areas will be so gravely impacted by the industrialization fracking will bring to our parks, I knew I wanted the animals to tell the story from their point of view regarding the potential impacts of fracking on our parks, their home.

I imagined myself to be an animal living in Salt Fork, living with the impending doom of fracking. How would I feel if I were a duck and I knew the frackers would soon be taking millions of gallons of water from my river home? How would I feel if I were a groundhog and I knew my earth home was soon to be drilled into by big machines and injected with lots of poisonous fracking chemicals? How would I feel if I were an owl and my night world was going to be lit up with stadium fracking lighting and disturbed with the ongoing fracking noise? How would I feel if I were a Cardinal and I knew my air was to be filled with methane and radioactive radon emissions?

To make the story interesting, I knew I needed a cast of characters to represent different personalities, perspectives, and to convey important information on the subject. I knew I needed a scientist to talk about what fracking is (Professor Turtle) and a legal scholar to explain to the audience how fracking is making its way to our Ohio parks (Owl). I knew I needed a leader to hold the meeting in the forest (Mama Deer), a skeptic (Fox), and a little creature to tug at hearts (Little Duckling). I also wanted moments of comic relief (Bullfrog, Groundhog, and Ladybug falling off the rock), etc.

Ohio’s parks face significant challenges from the 2023 law allowing drilling. How do you believe Stand Up can impact public awareness and action regarding fracking and environmental conservation?

There are significant challenges to stopping the fracking of our beloved Ohio parks and beyond. The gas and oil industry is very powerful and well-funded. Unlike the average citizen, they have easy access to all of our public leaders. The industry spends a lot of money to hire an endless number of lobbyists to influence lawmakers, AND an endless number of marketers to craft the message that drilling is harmless to humans and the environment.

This could not be further from the truth.

Thank you Jenny!

C.M. Rubin with Jenny Morgan

Don’t Miss Stand Up, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Planet Classroom.

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