Multiple local marine resource organizations are collaborating to produce a film series that aims to foster conversations on conservation at local colleges.
The 2018 Our Coast Community Film Series began in January and will continue through April 25. The film series includes screenings at the University of Washington Bothell and intends to educate locals on the Puget Sound marine environment and the global marine environment.
“We want to create a discussion that’s inclusive,” said Debbie Hopkins, a member of the Snohomish County Marine Resource Committee. “We want to bring a lot of groups together if we can.”
The committee consists of volunteers who act as an advisory board to the Snohomish County Council on matters relating to marine environments. The committee also focuses on education and outreach, which is why they used their annual grant funds to create the Our Coast film series.
This is the first film series put on by the committee and features three films that focus on local marine wildlife. The first two films were screened last month and earlier this month at Everett Community College and UW Bothell and don’t have any future showings. The films were “Return of the King, Discovering the Olympic Coast,” which covers the Puget Sound salmon recovery, and “Return of the River,” which focuses on the Elwha River restoration.
The first film showings hosted about 60 attendees each.
“(They) went really well,” Hopkins said, “We’re hoping for more, but this is a learning process for us. On a campus that can be commuter based, it’s often hard to get students, so we’ve stepped up our efforts on campus.”
According to Hopkins, community members were the main demographic at the first events and they’ve since been working with student organizations on both campuses to better advertise the film series to students.
The film series will conclude on with two showing of “Chasing Coral,” the final film that focuses on coral reef protection around the world. The film will show at UW Bothell on Earth Day, April 22 and at ECC on April 25.
The film showings also feature multiple guest speakers who facilitate a conversation on the film’s topic and answer questions from audience members. The guest speakers consist mainly of film directors and marine experts from around the Pacific Northwest.
“Our goals are to get people to engage with their community beaches, provide this discussion environment and create a curriculum,” Hopkins said.
The committee is already speaking with multiple school districts within Snohomish County to bring some of the films to local schools.
“Children are a great way to get people aware and motivated to make change,” Hopkins said.
The committee is also promoting a photo time-lapse app called MyCoast, which aims to record changes in local beach environments.
“The more people that we get out to there interacting with the beaches helps to bring up our volunteer base, bring a general awareness and bring people to community issues relating to restoration projects and how they’re impacting your everyday experience at the beach,” Hopkins said.
She and the volunteer committee plan to continue this film series in the future to continue raising awareness for the local marine environment.
“Puget Sound is definitely struggling, there are issues around recovery that need to be widely discussed,” Hopkins said. “I think it’s just really great to bring digestible information to a wider audience because once you care a little bit you suddenly make those extra efforts.”