The Orion

Wild and Scenic Film Festival promotes nature and activism

Mitchell Kret

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The Wild and Scenic Film Festival made a visit to Chico Feb. 28 to show 13 short films revolving around nature and activism. The festival was held in Ayres Hall, filled with diverse people from around the Chico community—students, families and many others who care about nature and the wilderness around them.

The festival was presented by Chico’s Center for Water and the Environment, a research group from Chico State’s community. The science director, Todd Greene hosted the event, explaining what CWE is and giving the festival an introduction and context.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival was started by the South Yuba River Citizens League, or SYRCL (pronounced circle), an organization of grassroots activists. Founded in 1983, SYRCL fights to protect the South Yuba River from dams, which harm the surrounding ecosystems. They achieved protection for 39 miles of the river through the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The full, five-day festival is held in Nevada City and Grass Valley, however, SYRCL allows members to rent certain films in order to be shared with others. While the main focus of the festival is activism, there are many different environmental and adventure films showcased.

The variety of films covered many environmental-based topics, such as protecting the Feather River, the risks faced by rough-skinned newts, as well as the importance of estuaries and their carbon content. Each film highlighted a different aspect of nature, making it clear that protection of the Earth is necessary and offering some insight as to how activism can help.

Tickets for the full festival are available online, and submissions for the 2020 festival open in May. Those interested can also find a selection of past films available for free streaming to get an idea of what the festival and SYRCL is all about. All of this can be found at wildandscenicfilmfestival.org.

Mitchell Kret can be reached at [email protected] or @mkret222 on Twitter.

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Wild and Scenic Film Festival promotes nature and activism