Joe, et. al.,
Ray Asselin is putting the final touches on a film on old growth forests of New England. The film runs almost 57 minutes. It features a look at the past, what happened along the way (conversion of forests to fields), rediscovery of our old growth, studying it scientifically, and the value of old growth ecosystems. As one should expect, some pretty heavy hitters are featured in the film including Doctor David Foster of Harvard Forest and Tom Wessels of Antioch Graduate School in NH. There are others.
Early reviews of the film by some pretty highly regarded scientists have been most encouraging. We're seeking its showing on WGBY, but are doubtful that the film's more intense educational format might not fit with the trend for such films. We don't show animals fighting or limit discussions to sound bites. I tried to talk Ray, the narrator, to practice sounding like David Attenborough (he does an excellent imitation), but he resisted.
It looks like the film will have many venues open to it. We have promises to that effect. We especially want to show it to conservation organizations that own lots of forest lands and are challenged by differing philosophies of management and in particular, trends toward creating early successional habitat at the expense of maturing forests. There's a place for young and old, but the direction is toward young and shrubby.
The original idea for the film grew out of Ray's desire to do a such a film and my role as chairperson for DCR's Forest Reserve Scientific Advisory Committee. My more limited objective was to provide DCR's nature interpreter staff with a training film. Most DCR interpreters are challenged to explain what old growth is to the public, and where to find it. DCR's visitors are curious and ask lots of questions. Unfortunately, you can expect about 9 out of every 10 answers they give to be partially or wholly wrong. I wanted to help them out, but along the way, it became obvious to Ray and me, but mainly Ray, that we needed to aim higher. Now, we have interest in the film in places as far aways as New York's Adirondack Park.
I don't mean to embarrass brother Ray, but he has grown like a hydra since becoming a film maker. You can see both his early and later videos on https://newenglandforests.blogspot.com
. After the old growth film our intentions are to make a film on the white pine and its history. We'll include material that spans most of its natural range. Then Ray has a video that he's doing with Tom Wessels, and we may have a follow-on old growth video that will deal with recognizing old growth for different forests types. Sky's the limit.