Runoff Lemonade, Poop in the Watershed

Millers Creek Film Festival highlights threats to Huron River
Students and teachers from Northside Elementary. Two classes had entries in the Millers Creek Film Festival.

A photo op for students and teachers from Northside Elementary at the Michigan Theater. These fourth and fifth grade students had entries in the Millers Creek Film Festival.

It’s not an image you see on the big screen every day: Close-up shots of dogs pooping, and then of their turds being plopped into an otherwise clear glass of water.

Funny, memorable and making a point – this is what happens (albeit less graphically) when you don’t pick up your dog’s excrement and it finds its way into the Huron River watershed. And by making the point this way, Nani Wolf, a fifth grader at Emerson School, won an award at the 2009 Millers Creek Film Festival.

About 350 people gathered on Friday afternoon, March 13, to see the festival entries at the Michigan Theater. (If you missed it, the winners will eventually be posted on YouTube. Here’s a link to last year’s winners.)

The event, now in its fourth year, is a way for the nonprofit Huron River Watershed Council to promote the importance of stewardship to the river and its tributaries, including Millers Creek. The festival’s three categories are short films (less than five minutes) from adult filmmakers, short films from school-age filmmakers, and 30-second public service announcements.

During introductory remarks, HRWC board member Paul Cousins noted that Hollywood had recently been to his town of Dexter to shoot scenes for a movie (the Hilary Swank film “Betty Anne Waters” filmed at several locations in this area). More movies are being shot in the state because of tax credits that took effect last year, he told the audience, but “we’re way ahead of Michigan in films.”

In addition to Wolf, whose film was titled “You Love Your Dog,” two others were awarded “Millies” – in the form of a glass trophy – and a $500 cash prize. Winners included:

  • “Runoff Lemonade,” by independent filmmaker Marty Stano, which won in the category of 30-second public service announcement.
  • “60 Second PSA” by John Inwood, a film student at Washtenaw Community College. His short film, which won in the adult category, was about the importance of not dumping oil into the storm drain.

An honorable mention in the student category was awarded to “Mystery of the Dirty Storm Drain,” a claymation film about sewer drains made by fifth graders in Ralph Carnegie’s class at Northside Elementary. They received ice cream coupons from Washtenaw Dairy. Also awarded an honorable mention was Blair Neighbors for “Life is Hectic” in the 30-second PSA category. He received a gift donated by Grizzly Peak.

Judges for the awards were state Sen. Liz Brater of Ann Arbor; Chris Cook, a film writer and producer with Metrocom International; and Steve Francoeur of Eastern Michigan University’s Center for Aquatic Microbial Ecology.

A reception after the film viewing and awards included a table full of plates of homemade cookies baked by HRWC volunteers, which proved especially popular with those in the student-entry category.

Marty Stano won the overall Millie award for the Millers Creed Film Festival. Presenting the award were Joan Martin, a festival committee member, and Laura Rubin, director of the Huron River Watershed Council.

Marty Stano won a "Millie" award at the Millers Creek Film Festival on March 13, for his film "Runoff Lemonade." Presenting the award were Joan Martin, festival director, and Laura Rubin, director of the Huron River Watershed Council.


  1. By Anon
    March 22, 2009 at 9:00 pm | permalink

    Dog poop is funny, but please do not misinform the public about the most serious forms of water pollution:

    * application of pesticides and fertilizers
    * oil and grease from parking lots
    * paint, oil and other substances dumped down storm drains
    * soil from alleys, road ditches and construction sites
    * improper disposal of leaves and grass.
    * improperly maintained septic tanks
    * soil erosion from farm fields and livestock trampling stream banks
    * livestock manure from cropland, barnyards or directly in the stream.

  2. March 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm | permalink

    The solution to pet waste is to NOT put it in the trash! This puts waste in the local landfills where it can contaminate the water source. Pet waste is known to be one of the leading causes of ground water contamination. Composting is also a poor solution as many experts claim that composting does not create temperatures high enough to kill the bacteria present in pet waste. sells the original, 100% flushable bag. It’s unique, two ply design allows the bags to hold together when they need to yet dissolve quickly in water. We also offer the WasteAway which is a back yard waste receptacle that mounts easily to your home near the plumbing cleanout. You simply scoop the waste, deposit it into the WasteAway, give it a quick shot of water and the waste is flushed into the sewer system. This keeps pet waste out of the trash and our local landfills. View these and other pet waste disposal products at

  3. By Mary Morgan
    April 5, 2009 at 9:58 pm | permalink

    Videos of this year’s winners are now posted on YouTube.