Friday, July 11, 2014

Dietrich Theatre to host ‘Aldo Leopold: A Movie and Book Experience’

May 07. 2013 4:28PM

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According to the Dietrich Theater, in Tunkhannock, everyone interested in conservation of our beautiful landscape will want to see the movie “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time” at the theater May 11 at 11 a.m.

This free showing will be sponsored by area conservation agencies. It will be complemented by two book discussions of Leopold’s classic book “A Sand County Almanac” Wednesdays May 8 and May 15 at 7 p.m. at the Tunkhannock Public Library.

One of Aldo Leopold’s primary messages that is conveyed in the film is that the oldest task in human history is to live on a piece of land and not spoil it.

The film Green Fire shows how his land ethic emerged and evolved. Six decades after his death, Leopold has much to teach us that is relevant today.

“A Sand County Almanac” has spurred an appreciation of environment no matter one lives. He is considered to be the most important conservationist of the last century and the father of the national wilderness system. His mission has had an impact on our consciousness, as did the mission of Rachel Carson.

One of the book discussion leaders, Dr. Peter J. Petokas, is a Freshwater Ecologist and Research Associate with the Clean Water Institute at Lycoming College in Williamsport. He earned his Doctorate in Ecology from Binghamton University and a Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. His research interests include the study of amphibians and reptiles, conservation biology, vernal pool and wetland ecology, fish ecology and the restoration of streams and watersheds.

Dr. Petokas said, “Aldo Leopold died the year I was born, and yet everything he taught me through his writings still resonates today in my worldview of the environment and how I envision myself as an environmental steward. I always try to ‘think like a mountain’ when evaluating environmental threats. Even now, Leopold’s lessons need to be reconsidered in light of the emerging environmental threats of global warming and the extraction of natural gas, bio fuels and wind energy.”

The film “Green Fire” describes the formation of Aldo Leopold’s idea, exploring how it changed one man and later permeated through all areas of environmental conservation.

The film draws on Leopold’s life and experiences to provide context and validity, explores the deep impact of his thinking on conservation projects around the world. Through his example, the film challenges each of us to contemplate our own relationship with the land community.

According to Dr. Petokas, “I have used Leopold’s ‘A Sand County Almanac’ as an instructional device in college teaching for many years. Students of environmental science are often lacking a historical perspective on the environment, viewing it only as it is today. Leopold’s writing takes them on a journey that explores the history, meaning, and poetry of environmental conservation. I invite you to spend an evening or two with Bob Daniels and I, exploring the poetic writing of Aldo Leopold.”

Bob Daniels is a former science teacher at Tunkhannock Area High School. A graduate of Albright College and Penn State’s Public Health traineeship grant program, he is an expert on bird banding and woodcutting. He remembers when woodcocks were prevalent in the area and has had memorable experiences encountering them, as did Leopold who wrote, “The woodcock is a living refutation of the theory that the utility of a game bird is to serve as a target, or to pose gracefully on a slice of toast.” After experiencing the woodcock’s remarkable skydance, Leopold wanted to be sure that its survival is assured.

The movie showing and discussions are sponsored by: Countryside Conservancy, South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Coalition, Lower Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Association, The Overlook Estate Foundation, the North Branch Land Trust, the Endless Mountains Heritage Region and the Dietrich Theater.

Learn more about these environmental organizations through their displays at the Dietrich, before and after the movie.

Reservations for “Green Fire” free movie tickets are available by calling the Dietrich Theater at 570.996.1500 or can be picked up at the ticket booth.

Call the same number to register for the book discussions at the Tunkhannock Public Library.


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