“Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia” is Freshwater Illustrated’s newest film. Ten years in the making, it follows the work of conservation biologists, explorers, and concerned citizens who work in North America’s most biologically rich waters in southern Appalachia. Now on tour, the film seeks to inspire discussion around biodiversity and conservation needs in these river ecosystems.
IGC fellow Sam Silknetter spearheaded the effort to bring “Hidden Rivers” to Blacksburg, coordinating with the Lyric Theater, Global Change Center, Fralin Life Sciences Institute and several local organizations including the New River Land Trust, Wild Virginia, the New River Conservancy, and the VA Department of Inland Game and Fisheries . Sam noted, “I had seen the film before but getting to experience it in the context of the New River and the freshwater conservation that is done here at Virginia Tech was something special. I wanted the audience to appreciate just how remarkable this region of the world is – and to help them to understand why I feel it is so vital to protect it.”
Audience members described the documentary as powerful, inspiring, and beautiful with stunning cinematography. See images from the film below, credit Freshwaters Illustrated.
This family-friendly event drew hundreds of people for the November 2nd showing downtown, including educators, families, scientists, and community activists. Prior to the showing, volunteers and organizers donned costumes as riverine mascots, including a hellbender salamander, a candy darter, a freshwater mussel, and a damselfly.
After the film, a panel of experts fielded questions from the audience, who were enthusiastic to learn more about the places and issues specific to the New River Valley. Organizing this collaborative event was an enormous undertaking, described by Sam as a labor of love. “It is always great to collaborate with people who share your passions. Seeing the audience react so positively to the film and the panel discussion gave me a lot of hope that this community cares about freshwater conservation. It was especially rewarding to see so many young people there – that’s the next generation of environmental stewards, and they couldn’t have picked a better cause to learn more about!”
To support Freshwaters Illustrated, visit their site to learn about future events, buy swag, donate, or become a member.