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'Gas Rush Stories'

Olney to host free film screening

January 25, 2014
Times Leader

BARNESVILLE - How has fracking impacted our neighbors in Pennsylvania?

You can find out at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at Olney Friends School in Barnesville.

Olney invites the public to a free screening of the film "Gas Rush Stories" by documentary filmmaker Kirsi Jansa. A native of Finland, Jansa is interested in how media can affect our perceptions of environmental realities in this country. Much of her work in the United States focuses on the Pittsburgh area.

Article Photos

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Kirsi Jansa and her crew film a gas well for the documentary “Gas Rush Stories.” The public can view the film at 7 p.m. Thursday at Olney Friends School.

Shale gas exploration is one of the environmental issues of our time and place. Gas wells are popping up all across the Ohio Valley, meaning local residents can expect to experience some of the same situations people describe in the film.

"Gas Rush Stories," a series of short documentaries, shows how shale gas drilling has changed and is changing the lives of individual Pennsylvanians.

Funded by The Heinz Endowments and individual donors, "Gas Rush Stories" also takes a wider look at these issues: How is shale gas exploration changing the Pennsylvania landscape? How is shale gas exploration impacting the development of renewable energy?

The series has been praised for its "human interest stories and fact-based presentation" and for "documenting the impacts of the Pennsylvania shale gas extraction boom with a rare level of fairness and detail."

The public screening will be the first in an annual series of events at Olney. Each year during the cold and dreary weeks of winter, the school holds "February Fridays" to enrich students' learning experiences.

The events begin early this year, with Jansa on hand for the screening at 7 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, she will present workshops for Olney students - one on fracking and one on "backpack journalism."

Also on Friday, magician Michael Strough will perform for Olney students then present a workshop on the art of illusion. Strough lives in Belmont and performs frequently for school events, conventions and parties throughout the region.

As part of the event series, Toni Kellar of Senecaville will work with Olney students on Friday, Feb. 14, in a drumming workshop designed to provoke thought and connections with nature and our local environment. Kellar is the director of Roots to Rhythm, an organization that leads collaborative drumming workshops in the tri-state area to build community and empowerment in schools, workplaces and other group settings.

Olney will present another free public event at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. Area residents are invited to a lecture by award-winning novelist Mary Doria Russell. Her talk is titled "Choosing a Major: Make your parents really nervous and achieve happiness." Her writing spans the gamut from historical fiction set in World War II Italy to science fiction that delves into religion.

Founded by the Religious Society of Friends at Mount Pleasant in 1837 and moved to Barnesville in 1876, Olney still relies on those guiding Quaker principles as it challenges students to grow. Today, Olney educates students of all faiths and ethnicities in grades 9-12, with pupils coming from across the United States and around the world. Olney is a boarding school that also welcomes day students from the local region.

Olney is located at 61830 Sandy Ridge Road, Barnesville. For more information on the two public events or the school itself, visit; call 740-425-3655, ext. 217; or email



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