More Precious than Gold: Film & Panel Discussion on the Proposed San Juan Ridge Mine

April 10, 2014

What are the potential impacts on the Yuba Watershed? 

April 16, 2014

7:00-9:00 PM

Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City

Doors open at 6:30pm

April 16th Mine Flyer eventSYRCL is teaming up with the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association and Synergia Learning Ventures to present “More Precious than Gold,” a film screening and panel discussion on the proposed reopening of the San Juan Ridge Mine. This event is free and open to the public, although donations are much appreciated.

Abandoned goldmines from a bygone era litter the Sierra foothills. One of those mines is located on the San Juan Ridge in the South Yuba River watershed. This mine was last in operation in the 1990s, with disastrous effects on local wells and streams, yet the proposal to reopen the mine is currently active and will be decided soon.

At its peak, the proposed mine would pump up to 3.7 million gallons of water out of the ground every day. This water would then be discharged onto the mining site, which encompasses the headwaters of Spring Creek and Shady Creek, both tributaries of the South Yuba River. As happened in the 1990s, excess mine water could scour local streambeds down to bedrock and discharge untreated water directly into the South Yuba River.

The panel features community leaders from several organizations who will discuss the environmental and economic ramifications of reopening the mine. The film is a project of Tom and Debra Weistar, who live about a mile from the mine site and whose well was affected in the 1990s. The film features many local environmental and community leaders.

Please join us on April 16th at the Nevada Theatre for this important dialogue with updates on the proposed mine and the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process. Come learn what you can do to help protect our water, and the Yuba watershed. The permit for the San Juan Ridge Mine is decided at the local level, so citizen input from all supervisorial districts of Nevada County will make a difference. Please join the conversation.

Mine PropertyThe Panel:

James Berardi- Twin Ridges Elementary School District

Caleb Dardick- South Yuba River Citizens League

Sol Henson- San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association and hydrologist

Izzy Martin- The Sierra Fund

Hank Meals- historian and archeologist

Gary Parsons- San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association

Debra Weistar- moderator, filmmaker

Refreshments will be available for sale.  For more information contact Andrew Collins-Anderson, or 530-265-5961 Ext. 203


Join the Wild & Scenic Film Festival ON TOUR and use film to inspire environmental activism.

March 27, 2014

Over the past 12 years, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival has become largest environmental film festival of it’s kind in the nation.  Last year we partnered with over 100 environmental groups, nature centers, nonprofits, museums, and universities to host venues across the United States and Canada.  We invite you to bring the Wild & Scenic Film Festival to your community and increase the groundswell for the environmental movement by using film to inspire environmental action.

Hosting this event is a proven way for your organization to engage a new and diverse audience, or to raise funds to further a specific campaign. Film is a powerful medium which can educate, inspire, and motivate people to go out and make a difference in their community and around the world.


Below is a sampling of the 80 films that are currently on tour with Wild & Scenic. The films delve into themes such as energy, climate change, conservation, wildlife, community activism, environmental justice, and adventure.  To preview the all of the 2014 films visit

Norm Hann at Windy Bay, Haida GwaiiSTAND

With a pipeline proposal always comes talk of what will be gained – but shouldn’t we be asking, ‘What do we stand to lose?’ A hauntingly beautiful examination of the people and culture of the Great Bear Rainforest– and the lives of those committed to defending its fragile ecosystems.

Snows-of-the-Nile2_Photo-by-Neil-LosinSnows of the Nile

Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains rise 5000m from the heart of Africa. At their summits are some of Earth’s only equatorial glaciers … but they are changing fast. Follow two scientist/photographers in their goal to retrace the steps of the legendary 1906 expedition and re-capture historical glacier imagery in order to visualize the impacts of a century of climate change.


The Colorado River runs 1,450 miles across seven states and two countries supplying water for 36 million people. It flowed to the sea for six million years but has not kissed the ocean since the late 1990s.


Testimonials from past WSFF On Tour Partners

Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour has grown to over 100 locations nationwide since starting in 2007. Each of those venues have been hosted by an organization who used the festival as a way to encourage local citizens to support environmental efforts and raise awareness for local campaigns. They experienced the value and ease of using Wild & Scenic On Tour’s turn-key format. Read what past tour venues have to say about hosting the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival and see why it is such an effective outreach tool.

The Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC

The tipping point for a shift from environmental apathy to responsible stewardship will be inspired by transformative experience. The Wild and Scenic Film Festival brings that powerful opportunity to audience members. It is creating a groundswell of inspired action one screening at a time!

 Cascadia Wildlands, Eugene, OR

The WSFF On Tour is not just a film festival. It is a community builder and a critical mechanism to build our movement to defend the earth.

OARS, Maynard, MA

This is the most amazing event we do! It creates a huge amount of publicity and visibility for our organization and brings the community together in an inspirational atmosphere. People begin to talk about what they can do locally to help and this is good for our river and for the other special places in our communities.

For more information about bringing Wild & Scenic Film Festival to your community, please visit our website:  Or give us a call (530.265.5961 ext. 204) We love talking about our little festival and its big mission—to inspire people and unite communities to heal the earth!


Special Offer from A Wild & Scenic Partner: Mother Jones

March 27, 2014

MJ_Cover_392_hiresSYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival is made possible due to support from our sponsors.  Especially key are the businesses we call our National Partners–Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Klean Kanteen, Orion Magazine, and Mother Jones.

One of our partners, Mother Jones magazine,  is offering Wild & Scenic supporters a special discounted subscription–a full year of Mother Jones for just $9.95. (That’s 72 percent off the newsstand price!). They even wrote you a little message so you can know what to expect from their publication:

“We’re an award-winning magazine of sharp reporting and smart analysis. We keep corporations accountable, hold politicians’ feet to the fire, and bring you news you won’t get anywhere else. We’ll do everything possible to arm you with the irrefutable facts and in-depth analysis on the topics that are important to you. The environment. Your health. The economy. Human rights. They all deserve truthful, in-depth reporting. So give us a try. If you care about the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the world you live in, try Mother Jones today.”

And just so you know, you risk nothing: If at any time you choose to cancel, they guarantee that they’ll give you a 100 percent refund of your subscription price.

Pretty cool, right?

To take advantage of this special offer, subscribe online now.

Many thanks to all of our National Partners for their support and to Mother Jones for this special offer.


This is your year! Submissions Open May 15 – Save the Date.

March 27, 2014

STD-Submit-FIlm-2015It’s never too early to be thinking about things Wild & Scenic!

If you’ve been saying “this is the year I’m going to submit,” then this notice is for you!  Open submissions for SYRCL‘s 2015 Wild & Scenic Film Festival begin May 15, 2014.

We show environmental and adventure films that illustrate the earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. Through these films, Wild & Scenic both informs people about the state of the world and inspires them to take action.  Read more about the types of films we’re seeking here. We hope you’ll help us spread the word, too.

Sending all filmmakers – budding to experienced – positive thoughts toward creativity, storytelling, environmental messaging, and, of course, funding as you work on your next masterpiece!


Art + the Environment

March 6, 2014
Bill Fox Art for Web

March 20, 7:30pm
@ The Center for the Arts, Grass Valley

Imagine art, not just for art’s sake, but art that walks in the world; recording and archiving the human experience for present and future generations to learn and grow from.

Author, art critic and cultural geographer, William L. Fox explores this in his profound and delightful discussion, “Art and The Environment: The Art of the Anthropocene,” presented by Nevada County Arts, ART OnSite, and Wild & Scenic Film Festival’s Arts & Lectures Series, Thursday, March 20, at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

Fox, the Director of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and a fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and Explorers Club, travels around the world to speak to students, artists, scientists, historians and naturalists about the art of the anthropocene.  The anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.  Fox believes that without a record or archive of such art, we lose knowledge from generation to generation, which threatens a culture’s sustainability.  And now more than ever, a division between the sciences and arts puts the planet in peril.


“When discussing the environment, conservationists and scientists cannot leave out the humanities, including the arts,” says Fox.  “The arts have to be involved for people to hear and connect with the stories, and keep them alive.”

Some of the artists and stories Fox covers include geographer Alexander von Humboldt, landscape painter Frederic Church, photographers Timothy O’Sullivan and Ansel Adams along with contemporary artists Lauren Bon whose transformative work “Silver and Water” follows the LA aqueduct down the Eastern Sierras and Marin County based artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O’Brien who use sculpture in a way that will allow the damaged areas of a watershed to reestablish themselves.  He will finish with discussion on present day art displays at Burning Man.

“SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival promotes and engages thinking about the intersection of Art and the Environment.  Bill Fox continues that conversation using mediums outside of film and seamlessly links the human component to the concept of ‘environment,’” says Melinda Booth, SYRCL’s Development Director who will also lead a discussion and audience Q&A after Fox’s presentation.

Fox reminds us “that not all art in the environment is going to be environmental.”  A good example is the ART OnSite project he helped jury in 2012, which selected eight artists to create land-based art along the Deer Creek Tribute Trail.  Fox says the project offers the community the whole gamut of land art – some of it is for decoration, some informational and others works are seen as transformational.

“When Bill Fox was recommended, and then accepted our offer to be one of three jurors for our ART OnSite project, I was thrilled because I knew his expertise as a global leader in the intersection of art and the natural, built and virtual environments would help us achieve our goals,” says Nancy Nelson, ART OnSite co-chair.  “Our community, who live here mainly because they appreciate the arts and our incredible natural environment, will be delighted and entertained by Bill’s research and stories.”

Fox’s talk is a must-see.  His passion for landscape, human cognition and history collides with his scholar’s curiosity and power of analysis to produce one of the most engaging discussions yet on art and the environment.

The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno has generously included a complimentary guest pass to the Nevada Museum of Art ($10 value) with each ticket purchased for Bill Fox.


WHO: ART OnSite, Nevada County Arts, and SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival Arts & Lectures present

WHAT:  ART AND THE ENVIRONMENT: THE ART OF THE ANTHROPOCENE Presented by William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art facilitated by Melinda Booth of SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival

WHEN: Thursday, March 20, 2014, Doors 7pm, Presentation 7:30pm

WHERE: Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main Street, Grass Valley, CA

TICKETS:  $15/GA, $10/Members, $5/Students, each ticket includes a complimentary guest pass to the Nevada Museum of Art ($10 value) Tickets available online at, by phone at (530) 265-5961, or in person at SYRCL’s office, 313 Railroad Ave #101, Nevada City, CA

Art On site  Print Print



2014 Films Available Now in SYRCL’s Film Library

March 6, 2014

film-library-signThe Official Selections from the 2014 Wild & Scenic Film Festival are now available in SYRCL’s lending library.  Borrowing is FREE but you must be a current SYRCL member to check out films.  Not yet a member? Did you let your membership lapse?  Not to worry – sign up today: online, in person at the office (313 Railroad Ave.), or call Sari Hale-Alper, Membership Coordinator (530) 265-5961 x212.

Details: You may borrow up to three films at a time for one week.  The office is open Monday-Friday between 9am-5pm, with some occasional exceptions.  If you’re new to the process–just ask!  Jane Theobald at the front desk (or any of the rest of us) will be happy to get you oriented.

For additional information or to peruse descriptions of available films, check out the film library page on our website. Special thanks to our stellar volunteer, Susan Ellenbogen, for making the 2014 additions to the film library happen.

Happy Viewing!


Arts & Lectures: Bill Fox on Art + the Environment

February 13, 2014

ART OnSite, Nevada County Arts, and Wild & Scenic Film Festival Art & Lectures present


Bill-cropPresented by William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art +Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art plus a conversation moderated by Melinda Booth of SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival, and Q&A
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley
Doors 7pm, Presentation 7:30pm
$15/GA, $10/Members, $5/Students
Tickets Available at

Art, not just for art’s sake, but Art that walks in the world.

Art Critic, Author, and Cultural Geographer, William L. Fox takes
audiences on a profound and delightful adventure to discover how
artist’s depiction of the natural world, dating back to the 1700s and
leading up to present day art displays at Burning Man, has evolved in
reaction to human-caused global changes.  Fox’s passion for landscape,
human cognition and history collides with his scholar’s curiosity and
power of analysis to produce one of the most engaging discussions yet
on art and the environment.

William L. Fox has researched and written books set in the extreme
environments of the Antarctic, the Arctic, Chile, Nepal, and other
locations. He is a fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and
Explorers Club and he is the recipient of fellowships from the
Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and
National Science Foundation. He has been a visiting scholar at the
Getty Research Institute, Clark Art Institute, the Australian National
University, and National Museum of Australia.

Art On site  Print Print



Wild & Scenic Film Festival Survey

February 3, 2014

Press ConfSYRCL produced its 12th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival January 9-12, 2014. We strive to make improvements every year and we’d like to hear from you about your experience at the 2014 Festival. If you attended the festival, we would be grateful if you took a few minutes to share with us what you loved, where we need improvements, and feedback about your overall experience as an attendee, filmmaker, sponsor, volunteer, etc.

And, if you finish the survey, you can be entered to win a Weekend Pass to the 2015 Wild and Scenic Film Festival!

Click here to take the survey now.

Thank you for taking time to provide feedback. We truly value your opinions.


2014 Festival: emPOWERing

January 13, 2014

_8003680-2The 12th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival took over Nevada City and Grass Valley this past weekend. More than 80 filmmakers and special guests participated in the fest enriching the experience and allowing for a closer look at some very diverse and salient topics.  _10U0273In addition, art from more than 40 talented artists adorned the walls of venues and businesses.  Four nights and three days of films were screened, two days of engaging activist workshops occurred, and the positive energy throughout town was infectious!

Winger_PressOverall, the South Yuba River Citizens League’s 2014 Wild & Scenic Film Festival was an astounding success. Many thanks to all attendees, participants, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and staff who made the weekend one to remember.  Mark your calendars now for the 2015 festival happening January 15-18, 2015.  A photo gallery has been started at our Facebook page so you can check out some of the action right now.OUtside NT

Here’s to a Wild & Scenic 2014!D3S_4335Flo




SYRCL Collects Nearly 3,000 Postcards to Protect the Yuba at Wild & Scenic Film Festival

January 12, 2014
Festival attendee, Wendy Thibeault, signing an action item postcard

Festival attendee, Wendy Thibeault, signing an action item postcard

Nevada City, CA – Festival goers proved that SYRCL’s 12th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival is indeed “Where activism gets inspired” by participating in a letter writing campaign to local and national elected officials.  Attendees made their voices heard by signing nearly 3,000 postcards on two urgent issues facing the Yuba River.

SYRCL volunteers collected over 1,500 postcards that will be hand-delivered to U.S. Senators Feinstein and Boxer asking them to take immediate action to restore wild salmon to the upper Yuba River.  Nevada County’s Board of Supervisors will soon receive another 1,300 postcards requesting their leadership in protecting the Yuba from the proposed reopening of a gold mine on the San Juan Ridge.

“Water is More Precious than Gold”

The local action targeting the Board of Supervisors was motivated by SYRCL’s and the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association’s concern that a proposal to reopen the San Juan Ridge Mine may threaten the Yuba River watershed. When the gold mine last operated in the 1990s, it had to shut down after dewatering wells for the local school, community center, and numerous residential properties. Nearby Spring Creek, a tributary of the Yuba, was scoured to bedrock and millions of gallons of untreated mine water were discharged into the South Yuba River.

Festival attendees were able to express their concerns about the mine by sending the Supervisors a postcard with an image of King Midas, who foolishly asked the gods for the power to turn anything he touched into gold – with disastrous consequences. The postcard states that “water is more precious than gold” and an accompanying letter lists SYRCL’s concerns about the potential risks to the South Yuba River watershed and its tributaries, Spring and Shady Creeks, including impacts to water quality and quantity, fish and wildlife, and vegetation.

“Pay No Attention to the Dam Behind the Curtain”

At the national level, U.S. Senators Boxer and Feinstein will be receiving 1,500 postcards requesting their leadership to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take responsibility for Englebright Dam, which it operates, and fund a “Yuba River Fish Passage” study as a key first step towards a full recovery of these imperiled fish.  SYRCL plans to hand-deliver the postcards to the senators later this year.

Late last fall, the Army Corps dismayed river conservationists by claiming that it has no responsibility for Englebright Dam’s impacts on the Yuba’s endangered and threatened fish species, including Spring-run Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and green sturgeon.

Moreover, the Corps now asserts that the only activities it has discretion over are cleaning portable toilets and maintaining the campgrounds and boat ramps.  Operating and maintaining the 260-ft Englebright Dam is omitted entirely! These assessments reverse the position that the Corps held for more than a decade that the dams are part of the Army Corps’ Yuba River “project” – a regulatory definition meaning the dams must be operated to protect endangered and threatened species.

SYRCL worked with Jennifer Rain, a local artist, to prepare an editorial cartoon captioned “Pay no attention to the dam behind the curtain.” This illustration points out the absurdity of the Army Corps’ abdication of responsibility for their dams.

To learn more about the San Juan Ridge Mine proposal and get involved, visit For information about SYRCL’s Yuba Salmon Now campaign, please visit

Contact:  Caleb Dardick, Executive Director  (530) 265-5961, ext. 207;