I love to watch a good film, and when it is nature conservation-related, then I am humming. It’s a great way to better understand a conservation issue and the science behind the narrative.
The American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF), held every fall in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the location of our National Conservation Training Center, offers a riveting schedule of excellent conservation films that incite a lot of interest around earth stewardship and conservation storytelling.
Film can light a fire under the most indifferent of us by its storytelling power and its use of imagery to inspire action. The idea is this: how do we become part of the solution?
To bring some of the world’s award-winning conservation films to eastern Massachusetts, our Parker River National Wildlife Refuge held an inaugural American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) North and folks in the Newburyport, MA area and beyond poured into the fabulous refuge auditorium to get relief from cabin fever and emerged “fired up” by the nine featured films screened across the weekend.
Award-winning films included Chasing Ice, Flight of the Butterflies, and the New England premier of The Power of One Voice: A 50 year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson. Carson, an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the time, visited the refuge in 1946 and wrote one of the “Conservation in Action” series booklets on Parker River the following year.
“The idea behind the recent film festival at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was really quite simple: to harness the power of cinema to inform and inspire event participants on a broad range of compelling conservation issues – be they local, national or global,” Matt Poole, Visitor Services manager explained recently, only three days after the resoundingly successful American Conservation Film Festival – North event at the refuge.
Future film festivals at the refuge will likely include discussion forums to bring the passion and “fire” incited by the films to a place where filmgoers learn how and where they can take action, and build community around the conservation concern presented in the films.
Beyond the fire of it all, there were some very simple expressions of appreciation for our efforts to offer an enjoyable and meaningful event. Said quite simply by one of our filmgoers: “The event was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon with my children – inspiring and educational.”
Check out if these conservation films are available near you:
- Flight of the Butterflies
- From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction
- Ribbon of Sand
- Magic of the Snowy Owl
- Chasing Ice
- The Ends of the Earth: Alaska’s Wild Peninsula
- Queen of Trees
- The Power of One Voice: A 50 Year Perspective on the Live of Rachel Carson
This slideshow, presented prior to the Rachel Carson film screening, features Parker River refuge images.