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Digging Deeper at the 11th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival


By: Pamela Biery

NEVADA CITY, Calif. Jan. 7, 2013 - January 10 to 13 sees the return of the Wild & Scenic® Film Festival to Nevada City for the 11th consecutive year. WSFF presents a rare opportunity to meet key activists and educators, glimpse inspiring work being done around our small planet and opens new possibilities for being and seeing. At its core, the WSFF is intended to spark action—there is bound to be something in the mix of 100+ films, top filmmakers, celebrities, leading activists and social innovators to shift your perceptions. Show up and celebrate historic Nevada City, see films, attend talks, hob-nob with film-makers, hear music and in general have a great time while supporting one of the most effective community action groups in America, the founding organization South Yuba River Citizen's League (SYRCL).

This year, rather than graze the surface, consider digging deeper and learning a bit more about a topic or two—find something to carry away with you, and let the Wild & Scenic be your own agent of change—make it personal. One way to do this is to show up with respect for the activists, writers and filmmakers who take their precious time to share with attendees through film, talks and appearances. Many are published authorities and have dedicated years to understanding the complex issues of environmental impacts, social justice and a warming planet. Below are reviews of several books by guest authors, along with a few notes intended to inform, inspire and ignite.

A Few Noted Guests and Recommended Reading:

Bill McKibben

Making a special appearance via Skype at Nevada Theatre on Saturday night January 12, McKibben wrote one of the very first books on global warming. He is a leading environmental activist and writer in the United States with far reaching writing and actions going back decades.

McKibben is a founding member of 350.org, an organization responsible for a campaign in 2007 called Step It Up that organized over 2,000 rallies at iconic places in all 50 of the United States. These creative actions -- from skiers descending a melting glacier to divers hosting an underwater action -- helped convince many political leaders, including then-Senator Barack Obama, to adopt our common call to action: cutting carbon 80% by 2050. His 10/10/10 Global Work Party convened more than 7,000 events in 188 countries. McKibben has been named one of the 100 most important global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, and MSN named him one of the dozen most influential men of 2009. Read his article on climate change in Rolling Stone magazine here.

McKibben's latest effort is Go Fossil Free. He will speak to this ongoing campaign.

Recommended reading:
Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
Bill McKibben

"The earth that we knew—the only earth that we ever knew—is gone."—Bill McKibben, Eaarth

Bill McKibben was right twenty years ago and he is right today. His book then, End of Nature, offered dire predictions about global warming. His book Eaarth, Making a Life on a Tough New Planet is named for the new planet we are creating. The news is not good. In December 2009 as the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change meetings got underway, a team of computer jockeys from MIT and other institutions had built a model, which demonstrated that the impact of global warming had already crossed seemingly irreversible thresholds. The question is really not how we can prevent global warming, or if there are impacts we can modify (and there are), but rather how can we adapt to this new planet, how we can learn to live differently— 'lightly, carefully, gracefully' in McKibben's words. Essential reading for a new planet and those who love this highly troubled one.

John Muir Laws

Naturalist, educator and artist John Muir Laws is leading a natural history hike on the Tribute Trail Sunday at 12pm, along with the Natural History Network and Sierra Streams Institute. Laws will have a book signing at The Earth Store Sunday at 2pm in downtown Nevada City.

A California Academy of Science Research Associate Author and illustrator, Laws is a 2010 Together Green Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day and the recipient of the 2009 Terwilliger Environmental Award. Laws has written and illustrated books about art and natural history including The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker's Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009).

Of special note for Sierra Nevada residents is The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada. This invaluable resource offers the chance to learn more each day about the nature around us.

Sierra Nevada: Global Hub of Chipmunk Diversity
Review of The Laws Field Guide (from 2007)

"By observing, interacting and discovering, we come to know and love. This love and knowledge is what motivates us to stewardship. Inspiring conservation and stewardship is my best hope for The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada."—John Muir Laws

If you love the Sierra Nevada, The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada deserves a space in your backpack, on your coffee table, or on your child's desk. This comprehensive 8-by-4-inch gem is a beautiful resource for better understanding the flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada. Providing detailed sections on insects, tracks, stars, scat, and mushrooms as well as plants, birds, and animals, this book offers the in-field identification tools that spark interest for more research once at home. Since the book is focused on illustration, it is a perfect all-age introduction to using field guides.

Jack Laws (nom de plume, John Muir Laws) is a trained wildlife biologist, an associate of the California Academy of Sciences and has worked as an environmental educator for more than 25 years. For the guide, he supplemented his own field research and subsequent illustrations with the extensive specimen resources at The California Academy of Sciences, ensuring accuracy. He also field-tested the book with all ages, collecting input from children and young adults in addition to veteran adult hikers and backpackers.

The guide, published by Heyday Books, came to my attention in summer 2006. My own copy is now dog-eared and has the distinction of being the book I most often gift. Heyday Books founder and publisher Malcolm Margolin announced the release of the Laws Guide (Margolin is attending the Wild & Scenic this year, too). Instead of the expected sound-bite sales pitch, Margolin brought to light some little known facts included in Laws' book. For instance, did you know that the Sierra Nevada has the world's greatest diversity of chipmunks? Or that when you see a lizard doing push-ups he really is deliberately puffing himself up to look larger? These kinds of natural history insights are woven throughout Laws Field Guide, and are designed to increase awareness of the Sierra Nevada's rare biodiversity.

Malcolm Margolin

Malcolm Margolin is the founder of Heyday Books, established in 1974. The mission of Heyday Books is to deepen people's appreciation and understanding of California's cultural, natural, historic, literary, and artistic resources.

Malcolm will be speaking at the Friday night Native American film session at the Vets Hall.

He is the recipient of the National Endowment of Humanities Chairman's Commendation Award 2012 recognizing his extraordinary contributions to his community by telling the story of California's people and its resources with vision, commitment, and passion.

Margolin's extensive writing includes The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco–Monterey Bay Area, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the hundred most important books of the twentieth century by a western writer.

"The Ohlones seem to have lived at a time and in a spiritual place before the imagination was cast away and isolated from "mainstream" consciousness. Since dreams were real, when an animal-god appeared in the hollows of the dream mind, it was not mere illusion: it was divine revelation."Malcolm Margolin, The Ohlone Way

Craig Childs and Orion Magazine Editor

Natural science writer Craig Childs will share excerpts, along with an editor from Orion magazine, from Orion's newest publication, Thirty-Year Plan, at a coffee talk on Sunday morning at The Curly Wolf in Nevada City. Childs has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books on nature, science, and adventure. He is a commentator for National Public Radio's Morning Edition, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men's Journal, Outside, Orion, and High Country News. Watch for a future review of Orion's new book Thirty-Year Plan.

"If you have stood on a beach counting waves washing up and back, you have been aware of the clock around you. But our perception of it changes. Our field of vision widens. Lifting our gaze above smaller horizons, we begin to comprehend our place in time." —Craig Childs, from Thirty Year Plan, published by Orion Magazine

A Few Notes and Loose Ends

Get your program online and pick the films that spark something special to you. Leave time open to explore and welcome the serendipity of downtown Nevada City on foot. Keep in mind not only special guests, but the Activist Center at City Hall, Saturday Night's Gala Event with wine and gourmet hors d'oeuvres at Nevada City Winery and also check out the best of the best at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 4:15pm, in the Stone Hall of the Foundry. Special tickets are required for the Awards Ceremony and Gala. Want the chance to cut loose? Drop by Saturday for late night music at The Haven WSFF After Party with the Brothers Comatose (tickets required).

Festival Headquarters are located at 210 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA.

All tickets and program descriptions can be found at www.wildandscenicfestival.org

From the Wild & Scenic site:

Will Call tickets will be available for pickup beginning January 11th 2013 at Festival Headquarters. Hours are as follows:

• Friday, January, 11: 10:00am – 9:00pm

• Saturday, January 12: 8:30am – 9:00pm

• Sunday, January 13: 8:45am – 2:00pm

*Note: If you need to pick up a Thursday evening session pass, or a weekend pass with access to that session, please pick up at SYRCL's offices at 216 Main St. in Nevada City, anytime up until 5pm Thursday January 10th.

Questions about tickets? Email catherine@syrcl.org, or call (530) 265-5961 ext. 215

SYRCL'S office will be closed Festival Weekend from Friday January 11-Sunday January 13. Staff will not be answering the phone, or emails.


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