Montevilla student wins National Geographic video contest

See the ‘star’ in a national video contest dance to a funny song …

Southeast Portland’s Lucy Ferguson shows off the “star” of her award-winning video – a Russian tortoise named Francisco.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton

Southeast Portland has a new celebrity – a seven year old Russian tortoise named Francisco.

It wasn’t anything Francisco did, other than munching on clover in her owner’s back yard, that made him famous.

The genius behind this story is Francisco’s owner, 10-year old Lucy Ferguson, a fifth-grader at East Portland’s Creative Science School, who took notice of the “Funniest Pet Video” contest notice in the June issue of the National Geographic Kids magazine.

Lucy said a video they took of their dog rolling around on the carpet after a bath looked pretty funny.

This Russian tortoise named “Francisco” is the star of top-prize-winning video shot by Lucy Ferguson for a National Geographic Kids magazine contest.

“Then, we were out in the yard, and I set Francisco down and watched him while he was eating clover,” Lucy told East Portland News. “He loves eating clover. I was ‘helping’ him by holding him so he hovered above the ground, while he was eating the clover.”

Video of the tortoise, cheerfully chomping clover flowers, while being suspended in the air, was the funnier of the two videos, Lucy said. “And, we thought there would be probably be a lot less competition in the tortoise category – ‘Scales, Fins & Feathers’.”

After overcoming a number of “technical difficulties” encountered when producing the video, Lucy said she submitted it with the title, “Earth-Friendly Weed Control”, and then didn’t think much more about it.

“In July, when we were on vacation, I got an e-mail saying that I won first place in my category!” Lucy said. “Then, in August, I found out that I won first place for the entire contest.”

Francisco the Russian tortoise reprises his role in Lucy Ferguson’s video called “Earth-Friendly Weed Control”, munching clover flowers.

In addition to winning prizes like a tablet, some National Geographic Kids books, and “other cool stuff”, Lucy’s entry was re-edited by singer-songwriter Parry Gripp, who composed an original soundtrack for the video.

While the accolades for taking the top prize in a national competition may fade, Lucy says she’s just happy to have Francisco’s company. “I plan to keep him healthy and happy for the rest of his life.”

For the time being, the finished production is online at the National Geographic website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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