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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Environmental film festival coming to Lake Geneva

By Kayla Bunge/The Janesville Gazette

The largest environmental film festival in North America is making a stop in Lake Geneva in two weeks.

The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival is held the second week of January in California and then tours the country, bringing award-winning films to empower communities to take action.

The festival is planned for Friday, March 7 at the Riviera from 5:30--10 p.m.

The senior leadership class at Badger High School, in partnership with the Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park and Clear Water Outdoor, is hosting the festival as a fund-raiser for its service project.

The students plan to replace fire rings and grills, stain picnic tables, paint bathrooms, build a garbage and recycling center and install a new sign at the state park.

The fund-raiser in Lake Geneva will feature 11 short films, covering environmental issues such as climate change, sustainable agriculture and lake and river restoration. Organic food and drinks prepared by the Badger culinary department and information from local businesses and environmental and service groups also will be available.

Wild & Scenic tour manager Susie Sutphin said the festival offers people a comfortable medium through which to examine environmental issues and start finding solutions.

"They see these films and say, 'Is that up to somebody else? No, it's up to me,'" she said. "By localizing together, we can affect change."

Sarah Schuster, a member of the Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park group and owner of Clear Water Outdoor in downtown Lake Geneva, said she hopes to raise the local community's awareness of pressing environmental issues.

"I'm hoping this will turn on people's light bulbs as to what they need to do in their own community," she said. "It takes a grassroots effort of community-type people standing up for what they believe in to make change."

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