Fredericksburg was getting slammed with the coldest days of January when Jeanette and I headed to Nevada City, California for an environmental film festival in preparation for our hosting of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Nevada City, birthed in the California gold rush became a mecca for people looking for a simpler lifestyle in the 1970’s.  Today the town of 2,800 is a laid back place with organic food stores, restaurants, art galleries and museums.  It’s also home to world class film festivals; the Nevada City Film Festival in September and the Wild & Scenic Festival in January.   We joined 7,000 movie goers who packed the tiny town for 4 days.

A brewery, a winery, the Odd Fellows Hall and a host of other places showed 140 environmental, adventure films.  We vicariously canoed the wild back country of British Columbia, rooted for indigenous fishermen creating marine sanctuaries and hiked the Appalachian Trail with locals fighting mountain top removal.  We met the animals and plants that inhabit those places and the passionate people working to protect them.

Inspired by the films and the need to get outside we drove south to Yosemite National Park.

The 1,200 square mile wilderness of waterfalls and canyons became our country’s 5th National Park in 1890. We roamed the valley floor and up into canyons.  At every turn the mountains of El Capitan, Half Dome and Cathedral Rock loomed above us.  We met mule deer and watched golden eagles soaring in the mists.  We gave thanks to John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt whose vision 100 years ago preserved this place for you and for me.

Revived in body and soul we returned home to plan Friends of the Rappahannock’s  8th Wild & Scenic Film Festival.  On March 31 we’re bringing 12 of the films we selected from Nevada City program to UMW’s Dodd Auditorium.  Shake off the winter blues, get inspired to protect the river and all the wild places that make you whole.

Students are free of charge and adult tickets can be purchased here.

Nick Cadwallender

Development Coordinator