LE ROY — The Erie Canal is a manmade wonder that is entrenched in the nation’s history.

Using man as well as animal power, its construction began in 1817 and took nearly eight years to complete. It is the longest man-made waterway in the United States spanning almost 400 miles from Albany to Buffalo.

The canal is rooted in the foundation of New York state’s past and is part of school history lessons, project organizers said in a news release. But it is underserved in the area of video content.

In an effort to create a video library featuring the Erie Canal, area educational agencies have joined forces to fund and direct a series of teaching videos.

Teaching Artists ROC worked in May in collaboration witthe school Library Systems of Genesee Valley, Monroe 1, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES and the Rochester City School District.

They received funding to produce a series of seven films that focus on the impact of the Erie Canal in Rochester and surrounding counties.

Larry Moss is the Executive Director of Teaching Arts ROC. He noted how this project will augment and expand current curriculum.

“Teaching Artists ROC are excited to bring our collective skills and knowledge base to this project for our area BOCES,” Moss said in a news release. “The actors, storytellers, musicians and audio-visual staff are eager to share these untold points of view on building the Erie Canal. They recognize that it will truly enhance and open up the classroom learning experience to a larger conversation.”

A grant from the Harold Hacker Fund for Advancement of Libraries has made the project possible.

The film prep work; hiring of actors, costuming, final script editing, and location scouting, are occurring this summer. Filming is expected to begin in the fall.

The goal is to obtain additional funding for the production of the remaining videos.

One of the videos will focus on the role of African Americans in the construction of the Erie Canal, as well as, how the canal impacted the Underground Railroad and how enslaved people used the canal as another escape route.

Another video will focus on the Native American perspective; their loss of lands and natural elements, including animals and geography, to the canal.

Once completed this video series will be housed by the School Library Systems of Genesee Valley, Monroe 1, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES and the Rochester City School District, for instructional use by the schools served by these BOCES and the Rochester City School District.

The project will be coordinated with the participating BOCES as well as Rochester City Schools.

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