Caramie Schnell

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September 12, 2012
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Inaugural Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Avon Friday, Saturday

Community activism, conservation, agriculture and adventure. These are a few of the themes of the films showing at Walking Mountain Science Center in Avon Friday and Saturday. The event, called the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, is a collection of films from the annual festival held the third week of January in Nevada City, Calif. Wild & Scenic focuses on films that speak to environmental concerns and celebrations of the planet. "Films featured at Wild & Scenic give people a sense of place," said tour manager Lori Van Laanen. "In our busy lives, it's easy to get disconnected from our role in the global ecosystem. When we realize that the change we need in this world begins with us, we can start making a difference."The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in 2003, Van Laanen said. The festival's namesake celebrates SYRCL's landmark victory to earn "Wild & Scenic" status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999. "We're unique because we're the only film festival produced by an environmental non profit," Van Laanen said.With the support of national partners, the festival tours venues coast to coast. "The tour shows 101 places across the country, and in Canada and the Bahamas," Van Laanen said. Fifty-five of the films from the festival go on tour, and Walking Mountains got to choose the lineup showing this weekend, she said. One of the national partners is Patagonia, who gave the Walking Mountains Science Center a $1,000 grant to bring the festival here, said Kristen Belschner, the marketing manager for Walking Mountain Science School."The local Patagonia store came to us in conjunction with Specialty Sports Ventures," Belschner said. "They introduced the idea to us and we thought it would be a good fit."Films will be offered on both Friday and Saturday nights, with kids films beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Walking Mountains will host a family fun fair from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday with science experiment stations for kids, as well as concessions. Here's a brief look at some of the films showing:"Mother Nature's Child" (57 minutes): An extension of the discussion sparked by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods" and "The Nature Principle," offers a thought-provoking overview of the benefits of unstructured outdoor play, risk-taking, the use of technology and what it means to educate the "whole child.""Green Fire" (73 minutes): This film is about Aldo Leopold, conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer and outdoor enthusiast. The film examines Leopold's thinking, renewing his idea of a land ethic for a population facing 21st century ecological challenges. "Nico's Challenge" (15 minutes): Kids and adults alike will be inspired by this film, which catalogues the journey of a 13-year-old boy who climbs Kilimanjaro on one leg, raising money to bring wheelchairs to handicapped people in Tanzania. This plays both Friday night and Saturday during the kid's session. "Walking the Valley: Mountain Pine Beetle" (23 minutes): This film is a collaboration between TV8, Walking Mountains, Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service. Learn about the life cycle of this tiny, yet powerful critter and find out what our local forest caretakers are doing to combat the epidemic. "We're excited about this one," said Kristen Belschner, the marketing manager for Walking Mountain Science School. "Dale Versteegen, community programs coordinator, talks about what some of these local outlets are doing to combat the pine beetle. It's very informational.""Gloop" (4 minutes): This dark fairytale follows the meteoric rise of plastic, from its inception in Leo's gloomy laboratory 100 years ago. Told like a Brother's Grimm fable, "Gloop" offers a poignant and lasting message about the price we pay for the convenience of plastic."Weed War" (6 minutes): A profile on Mark Harbaugh, Patagonia fly fishing rep and goat rancher, this film showcases one man's obsession to do his part for the environment using weed-eating goats to control noxious invaders in the Rocky Mountains.

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The VailDaily Updated Sep 12, 2012 04:07PM Published Sep 12, 2012 04:03PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.