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Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival on tour

Patagonia the innovative outdoor clothing manufacturer, and the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), one of the nation’s most successful grassroots activist groups have joined forces to present the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival. The festival, founded in 2003 by SYRCL and based in Nevada City, California, uses film to promote and encourage grassroots environmental activism. Patagonia, founded by world –famous climber and environmentalist, Yvon Chouinard uses its business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. “By joining forces, we can use the strength of our common goals to bring this motivating film festival to as many viewers and potential activists as possible,” says Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environment and Marketing at Patagonia.

Patagonia will be the presenting sponsor of the film festival as it tours throughout the United States. By showing the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival to diverse audiences across the country, activist groups will inspire more individuals to take action and help in the environmental movement. The tour program offers a new and wonderful way to educate, entertain, and motivate audiences AND raise money for grassroots activist organizations at the same time.

When on tour, The Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival offers over 100 films shown at the annual Film Festival with subjects ranging from eco-adventure, wildlife, forestry, Native American issues, rivers and water. “Our mission is to inspire tour-goers to take action on behalf of the natural world,” says Kathy Dotson, festival director. Patagonia’s support will help the festival tour share the powerful messages of these films with a larger audience. Whether it is the struggle for environmental justice, an adventure through the highest peaks, or an educational tale about an endangered species, the films expose people to forward-thinking ideas and global awareness. “We want to share the magic of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival with a wider community of activists. The tour will act as a fundraiser for individual groups who host it and Patagonia will help the groups by sponsoring the festival in their town” says Susie Sutphin, Patagonia’s spokeswoman.

Patagonia has been a champion of environmental causes since the early 70’s when the company gave support to their hometown group, the Friends of the Ventura River. Sponsoring the film festival is a natural extension of their core values which includes being a model for environmental activism. Inspired by local success, Patagonia began to make regular donations to environmental causes, sticking to smaller groups working to save or restore habitat rather than give the money to NGOs with big staffs, overheads, and corporate connections. In 1986, they committed to donate 10% of profits each year to these groups. The company later upped the ante to 1% of net sales, or 10% of profits, whichever was greater. They have kept to that commitment every year since, giving away 2.3 million dollars in 2005 alone.

The Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival supports the critical work of SYRCL, California’s most effective and largest single-watershed protection organization. “SYRCL’s effectiveness as an organization is based on our ability to engage people around environmental issues that affect their lives,” says Jason Rainey, SYRCL’s Executive Director. “The Festival tour is a natural extension of SYRCL’s work to inspire people to act on behalf of the environment,” says Rainey. “Plus all of the money raised from the festival and the tour goes directly back into the protection of the local environment.”


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