By ALEX SPENCE
On Saturday, March 25, Dodd Auditorium will open its doors to students and community members alike and invite you to hike the Sierra Mountains, wade the Alaskan waters and bike to the coast for a sunset surf.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival began in 2003 as a way to explore environmental issues through beautiful cinematography. This national film festival is screened all over the country to draw together a community and urge environmental action. And this year, the University of Mary Washington is one of the many hosts.
The film festival has screened both local and nationwide work in hopes of opening eyes to the wonders of our earth and to remind us that we too are participants “in a global movement for a more wild and scenic world.”
Wild & Scenic is organized and produced by SYRCL (the South Yuba River Citizens League), which was founded in 1983 by grassroots activists determined to protect the South Yuba River from dams. After a hard-pressed fight, SYRCL won permanent protections for 39 miles of the South Yuba River under California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Today they continue to spread the message of activism and community, two principles that can change the world when hand in hand.
UMW senior Maggie Magliato also believes in those two core principles and began volunteering for Friends of the Rappahannock, a non-profit advocacy group, in her freshman year of college.
“I became more involved with FOR two years ago when I started volunteering weekly,” said Magliato, a double major in biology and environmental science. “Last May I became a biology intern and have been ever since.”
FOR has taken an active role in the film festival for six consecutive years, however, for UMW this is the first year of involvement. Magliato has been appointed to social media coordinator for the event, and is excited and hopeful about a lasting partnership.
In addition to Magliato, Jeremy Larochelle, associate professor of Spanish also helped coordinate and organize the event.
“The great folks at FOR reached out to see if we could host [the film festival] here in Dodd Auditorium where they held a showing of the documentary ‘Rappahannock’ a few years back,” said Larochelle, who will also act as the emcee for the event. “I wanted to host this because FOR is a fantastic local non-profit that actively promotes conservation of our local treasure here, the Rappahannock River.”
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival hopes to instill a fiery passion to protect our natural world, much like that of FOR’s development coordinator and environmental educator, Nick Cadwallender.
Cadwallender, grew up on the south coast of Australia, which gave him a deep appreciation for the need to protect and restore natural landscape.
“My home was surrounded by lush green farmland of bald hills that had until the early part of last century been temperate rainforest,” Cadwallender said. “Today there are only pockets of that left.”
With passion and perseverance, Cadwallender and his wife were involved in purchasing and placing 300 acres of this rainforest in perpetual conservation, an admirable display of activism that Wild & Scenic wholeheartedly promotes.
Throughout the festival, three categories of short films will be screened, including outdoor adventure, conservation and activism, all ranging from three to 18 minutes. The 13 short films will showcase national locations from Maryland, Alaska and North Carolina, to overseas settings such as Spain and Mexico.
“I believe we should all try our best to preserve our natural world,” Magliatosaid . “We only get one Earth and I want it to last for generations to come.”
UMW students are allowed admittance to the festival free of charge, as are high school students and students from other universities with the addition of their school ID. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The screening will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. For more information please visit, www.riverfriends.org.