MENDOCINO Co., 6/1/21 — This January, Round Valley High senior Gerald “Bam” Britton was awarded an internship via KEET TV in Eureka and the Public Broadcasting Service, and on June 3, Britton will discuss making of his movie From Ridge to River and From Fish to Fire in the Student Media Showcase. The student showcase event will be broadcast on KEET, but will also be available via Zoom for those not in the broadcast area, and will include a discussion with Britton about his experience during the internship, which included talking to forestry experts and tribal elders throughout northern Mendocino County with support from the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) to create his film.
“The PBS Student Media Showcase will be on Zoom at 4 PM on Thursday June 3. The Zoom address is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87551832225, which can also be accessed at www.eelriverrecovery.org and where there is a link to Bam’s movie,” notes the announcement from the ERRP. Here’s the press release with more information about Britton’s internship and more about how the movie came together:
Gerald “Bam” Britton, a senior at Round Valley High School in Covelo, was awarded an internship by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) through KEET TV in Eureka in January 2021. As part of the grant, Bam went on field trips, heard talks by forestry professionals and Tribal elders, and made a movie about what he learned; From Ridge to River and From Fish to Fire. On June 3, Bam will be recognized and talk about the experience of making the film as part of the PBS Student Media Showcase on Zoom.
The Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) assisted Bam and KEET in applying for the award and supported him by assisting with recruitment of experts, from whom he could learn, and organizing field trips. Although the KEET signal does not reach Covelo, it serves the North Coast region that includes Mendocino County. The internship was inspired by The Age of Nature series that documents how countries and cultures are reacting to climate change. This is the second PBS award of this type to KEET, with a 2020 grant leading to creation of Harmony in the Eel River Basin, a 30-minute documentary about forest health produced by the station and co-sponsored by ERRP and the Institute for Sustainable Forestry.
Bam participated in Zoom meetings with forestry experts like Dr. Mike Jones of the University of California Extension and folks from Humbots Data Analysis who fly drones to collect remote sensing data. Tim Bailey, a remote sensing specialist, explained how LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) can create an accurate ground image even through thick tree canopy and also measure forest canopy height. Fish biologist Pat Higgins used slides and video to convey to Bam and his classmates how forest health effects flow and Eel River fish. ERRP Outreach Coordinator Isabelle LeMieux hosted weekly Zoom “check-in” meetings where Bam could report progress and identify additional support needs.
It was on field trips that Bam gained the greatest insight. He wandered up into the hills above Covelo into the Town Creek watershed with Imil Ferrara, a forestry expert contracted by ERRP. There he got a deeper understanding of forest health in his back yard. In late March, accompanied by Round Valley High School teacher Kelda Britton, Bam went to lower Tenmile Creek near Laytonville. Vernon “Woods” Wilson, former Cahto Tribal Chair and operator of Wood’s Tree Service, explained to Bam how forests have deteriorated because of cessation of controlled burning. Forest health expert Steve Brown joined Woods and described how firs over-topping oaks was reducing food for animals and also runoff from watersheds. In the North Fork Eel River watershed, Bam toured with John and Tracy Elgin, who are of Wailaki-Wintu descent and experts on forest health and traditional ecological knowledge in that little-known sub-basin. Round Valley Tribal elder Ernie Merrifield reached Bam at a profound level through a Zoom meeting and an in-person interview. Bam’s movie draws on his interviews, and Ernie’s advice on how Harmony can be brought to the World is in keeping with the international message of the Age of Nature series.
The PBS Student Media Showcase will be on Zoom at 4 PM on Thursday June 3. The Zoom address is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87551832225, which can also be accessed at www.eeleriverrecovery.org and where there is a link to Bam’s movie. ERRP hopes that Bam’s movie will inspire his peers to explore careers in natural resources and forest health. They can then help meet the challenge of improving stewardship of forests in northern California, to improve productivity of the land and rivers and to buffer us from climate change.