Erin Petersen

Making it Home

By - Apr 15th, 2010 04:00 am
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One of the barriers to introducing more sustainable practices into daily life is the assumption that it’s expensive, and therefore only accessible to the affluent. But there are plenty of easy and affordable ways that we can tread more lightly on the earth, and even more educational resources to show us the way.

Making it Home, a traveling film festival created by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, comes to Milwaukee this weekend, and will be hosted by The Urban Ecology Center. All of the screenings are free and each film will touch on the environmental topics at the forefront of today’s cultural dialogue. The festival hopes to use these films to help people re-acquaint themselves with nature, and also to think about how these global issues relate to their own communities.

“Making it home means thinking about broader issues, like water use and conservation, and then what those things mean here, where we live,” says Jamie Ferschinger, Community Program Coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center.

The Urban Ecology center is a non-profit environmental education organization, and has community centers serving both the Riverside and Washington Park neighborhoods. Their programs teach kids and adults about nature and conservation, and work to make the concept of sustainable living a reality for urban areas. Ferschinger says that her goal is to promote a sense of community through programs at the center.

“It’s really about giving people a sense of place,” she says, ” and all of us having connections to each other and to the places we live.”

With some help from Milwaukee Film, Outpost Natural Foods and Boswell Books, the UEC was able to put together a weekend of interesting and relevant programming to accompany the film festival.

Bill Mckibben, noted environmentalist and author, will kick-off the festival with a reading and discussion of his latest book, Eaarth: Making a life on a tough planet. (Sorry folks- by press time, this event was completely full!). The screenings begin on Saturday morning and there are a series of activities to compliment each film. For instance, you can watch a documentary about the resurgence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, once thought to be extinct, and afterward go on a bird watching walk . After Know Your Mushrooms, the Wisconsin Mycological Society will show you how to forage for wild mushrooms in your own backyard.

“There will be a program or discussion after each film,” says Ferschinger, “to give everyone a chance to interact with their neighbors in the community.”

Other films featured this weekend: The Making of Green Fire, a documentary about deceased environmentalist Aldo Leopold; Milking the Rhino, which analyzes the conflict between humans and animals, and is one of the first documentaries of its kind to be filmed from the perspective of people who live with animals in the wild. On Sunday afternoon you can see What’s on Your Plate?, followed by a family foods class and demonstration by the Outpost. The festival wraps up on Sunday evening with Men of the Lake and Upstream Battle.

All of the film screenings and activities are completely free and open to the public, and all events will be held at the Urban Ecology Center’s Riverside location at 1500 E. Park Place. Registration isn’t required to see a film, but it is appreciated.

Categories: Environment, Movies

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