By Lauren Bray, edhat staff
The NatureTrack Film Festival is showcasing a number of important and fascinating films during this year’s virtual program. The festival runs through Sunday and so far one film has stood out, “The Beaver Believers.”
I didn’t know much about beavers before watching this film except the usual: buck teeth, funny tails, likes trees. After watching this film, I am officially a beaver believer and advocate.
The award-winning feature documentary directed by Sarah Koenigsberg follows the work and passion of five scientists and one quirky hairdresser turned beaver rescuer. Independently they’re all working to restore the North American Beaver, nature’s most hard-working engineer, to watersheds of the American West.
Beavers are a keystone species, meaning they have a disproportionately large effect on their natural environment relative to its abundance. They enrich their ecosystems, creating the biodiversity, complexity, and resiliency our watersheds need to absorb the impacts of climate change.
The film highlights how important it is for humanity to embrace and coexist with beavers, the partner with them as they have the power to restore elements of nature in ways humans cannot.
The scientists and activists featured in the film do not shy away from the dangerous and devastating role humans have played in the near extinction of the beaver in the western United States. This includes a scene from the cringe-worthy show “Duck Dynasty” which shows several men decked out in camo gear and armed with high-powered assault rifles carelessly and flagrantly shooting into a creekbed in an attempt to kill one beaver.
The film creatively used an unassuming animal to share the reality of how Earth is changing, how everything is interconnected, and how we need to make changes now before it’s too late.
Audiences have agreed by honoring “The Beaver Believers” with the 2019 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, winner of the Green Spark Award at the American Conservation Film Festival, winner of the Eco-Hero Award at the Portland Eco-Film Festival, and a finalist at both the London Eco-Film Festival and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
Tickets are still available through the NatureTrack Film Festival where you can watch this film through this Sunday.