Nonprofits celebrate Earth Month with free film screenings |

Nonprofits celebrate Earth Month with free film screenings

An industrial site in AlbertaÕs Boreal Forest is home to a nest of baby American robins in ÒThe Messenger,Ó a documentary about songbirds that will be part of the Earth Month screenings. The film is presented in partnership with the Park City Film Series and Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. (

April 22 is Earth Day, but the Park City Film Series has collaborated with other locally based environment-conscious nonprofits to expand the celebration into Earth Month.

The film series will present three free documentary screenings every Thursday starting on April 14, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium.

The films are Su Rynard’s "The Messenger," Grant Baldwin’s "Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story" and Costa Boutsikaris’ "Inhabit," according to Park City Film Series Executive Director Katharine Wang.

"This is part of the Park City Film Series’ Reel Community Series, which we have been expanding over the years," Wang said. "We used to do just one a month, and either partner with a nonprofit or just offer a free screening. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a rising interest from community members and other nonprofits to do more."

The collaborating nonprofits are the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, Recycle Utah and Summit Land Conservancy, each of which the Park City Film Series has worked with before.

"The timing just seemed to make sense," Wang said. "We have the opportunity to show these films that focus on different aspects of the environment and sustainability as well as engage in the ongoing discussion with these three nonprofits and we want to use these films to elevate the community dialog as a result."

The first film, "The Messenger," was the perfect fit with the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.

"It’s about the decline of songbirds," Wang explained. "It examines why there is a decline and why this is even an issue.

"What’s happening is that the places the birds stop at along their migration routes doesn’t have enough food for them," she said. "Some of these birds fly south from the Arctic to the top of South Africa, and these birds are actually starving and don’t make it to their final destination."

The film looks at songbird migration through the eyes of scientists, one of whom is Dr. Ça an ekercio lu, professor of conservation ecology and ornithology at the University of Utah.

"’The Messenger’ isn’t just about us not hearing the mockingbird sing," Wang said. "There are some unintentional consequences that we need to be aware of. It looks at what’s happening and what we can do. And how we can create safe stopovers for the migrating birds in our community."

ekercio lu, who will attend the screening, will do a Q&A, moderated by Brittany Ingalls Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter conservation coordinator.

The screenings will go from bird migration to food waste when the Park City Film Series presents "Just Eat It" on April 21.

"’Just Eat It’ is done by the same people who did the "Clean Bin Project," which we screened with Recycle Utah a few years ago," Wang said. "In ‘Just Eat It,’ Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer examined the issue that 40 percent of the food in the United States is not eaten."

The food is being thrown away, according to Wang.

"That ends up becoming 133 billion pounds of wasted food each year," she said. "And this is in a country where people are starving because their food stamps aren’t going far enough and food in our grocery stores is being thrown away because it’s not cosmetically attractive."

It also examines the expiration date concept.

"Just because something is past its expiration date doesn’t meant it’s not edible," Wang said.

In "Just Eat It," Baldwin and Rustemeyer make a point to eat food from the trash for 60 days.

Lindsey Nielsen, outreach and communications director for Recycle Utah, said "Just Eat It" aligns with Recycle Utah’s mission of empowering people to live sustainable lives.

"That doesn’t just pertain to recycling," Nielsen said. "Our legal name is Park City Conservation Association and that allows us to delve into issues outside of recycling, such as food waste."

Food and otherwise compostable waste takes up nearly 30 percent of the nation’s landfill, according to Nielsen.

"It’s a lot of waste, but also a lot of food that could have otherwise have been eaten or composted as a nutritious soil for many years," she said. "For example, you can walk through grocery stores right before closing and see staff stacking edible food that will go into the trash or otherwise disposed of."

Nielsen is grateful for Recycle Utah’s partnership with the Park City Film Series for this and past screenings.

"As a nonprofit in Park City, Recycle Utah cannot be doing all that we do without collaborations with other nonprofits such as the Park City Film Series," she said. "We just don’t have the space to show a film like this. We are so thrilled to partner with the Park City Film Series on this film. We feel it’s an important film and we are fully appreciative to the service the Park City provides the community and we’re proud to be part of that."

The final Earth Month screening will be "Inhabit," on April 28. The partner is Summit Land Conservancy.

"We worked with them in the past to present the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, but this year, they decided to take a break and just focus on a single film and we found this film about permaculture," Wang said. "It has been winning awards and making the festival circuit."

First and foremost, the film explains what permaculture is.

"It’s a design process, which is based on the replication of patterns and relationships found in nature," Wang said. "As opposed to agriculture, which in the film is seen as essentially mining where we extract plant life out of the ground without giving anything back, permaculture looks at things as a whole and tries to replicate natural systems."

The film examines permaculture projects in the Northeastern Seaboard and includes rural, suburban and urban areas.

"This shows examples that this can be done anywhere," Wang said. "While all the projects don’t look the same, it shows the ideas of permaculture can be implemented anywhere."

All three films, which are also sponsored by the Promontory Foundation and the Park City Community Foundation, not only examine the issues, but also gives alternatives for becoming more productive about preserving the environment, and that’s something Wang appreciates.

"We’re excited to expand Earth Day and getting the community inspired," she said. "We certainly are an environmentally conscious community, but we can always do better."

The Park City Film Series will present three Earth Month screenings on April 14, 21 and 28, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. All screenings are fee and open to the public. For more information, visit

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