2021 Films

An American Ascent documents the first African American expedition to tackle Denali, North America's highest peak and explores the complex relationship many African-Americans have with the outdoors. As the United States transitions to a 'minority majority' nation, a staggering number of people of color do not identify with America's wild places. By embarking on the grueling multi-week climb of the 20,327ft Denali, nine African-American climbers set out to bridge this 'adventure gap' - challenging outdated notions of what adventure looks like by changing the face of America's biggest and baddest mountain on the 100th anniversary of its first summit.

American Ascent.png

Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river.

Gather.PNG

Fantastic Fungi is a descriptive time-lapse journey about the magical, mysterious and medicinal world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth that began 3.5 billion years ago.

Fantastic Fungi.jpg

Felled is a story about finding worth and beauty in something most consider to be trash. The film chronicles the journey of an urban pine tree downed by a summer storm and saved from the landfill by two woodworkers who give the tree new meaning as a family dinner table. Through interviews with industry experts, sawyers, arborists, artists, and woodworkers, including both Norm Abram and Nick Offerman, the film highlights the growing urban lumber movement and explores themes of waste, craftsmanship, and redemption.


In Telling the story of one tree, Felled seeks to inspire others to re-imagine the world around them and to discover the potential for beauty in the fall and the value of creating something meaningful to share with their community.

Felled_01 (1).png

Livestock on the Land is a story about regenerative grazing and its promise for the Iowa landscape. Up close, however, it’s a story about people – the farmers driven by love of family, land and livestock to seek more resilient solutions, and the community that emerges when livestock are on the land. The film goes beyond the science to show how livestock are central threads connecting people, diversifying farms, protecting soil and water, and anchoring rural communities. When livestock leave, so do the people. “Livestock on the Land” shows the reverse: how livestock can repeople our rural communities by giving farmers a chance to get started, grow businesses, provide for their families, work together and bring back the next generation to sustain the cycle

PFI2021_LivestockOnTheLand_1920x1080px (3).jpg
Mysteries of the Driftless.jpg

Mysteries of the Driftless is a documentary about a team of explorers and scientists kayaking down deeply cut tributary valleys, flying in ultralights, and climbing rocky bluffs to reveal answers to the mysteries within the driftless area. Their journey will expose both the science and threats behind three unique features of the zone – rare plants and animals, odd geological phenomenon, and striking remnants of a Native American pilgrimage like no other. What these explorers reveal will not only give the audience a greater appreciation for the unique diversity of this “island of land” that escaped glacial scouring, but will inspire a greater appreciation for this amazing area. The goal is not to answer all the mysteries, but to document the exploratory process for the viewers. In the end, the film will ignite the curiosity of viewers to discover more about the area for themselves. Lead by two award-winning filmmaking scientists, biologist Rob Nelson and geologist Dan Bertalan, this team of explorers will reveal the majesty and allure of the driftless area using a stunning combination of documentary filmmaking techniques blended with genuine adventure. The team will also include; noted authors of Native American archeology Robert Boszhardt and Dr. James Theler to further document archeological remnants found along the steep bluffs, geography Professor Jim Knox to help decode the driftless geologic mysteries, and driftless ecologists Darcy Kind, Armund Bartz, Tim Yager, and Abbie Church investigating the numbers and health of rare species that have persisted here for over a million years. Mysteries of the Driftless was produced by a collaboration of Untamed Science and Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

Wide open expanses of tallgrass prairie and oak savanna dominated the landscape of southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and southeast Minnesota before European settlement in the early 1800’s. Maintained for thousands of years through the use of fire on the land by indigenous peoples, this rich and unique tapestry of plants and animals rapidly disappeared from the landscape due to agriculture, urbanization, suppression of fire, and invasive species. Today only tiny remnants of these now rare natural communities remain.

The Prairie Enthusiasts is an organization of volunteers, landowners and conservation professionals dedicated to protecting prairies and oak savannas, managing the most important remnants so they can survive and flourish, and helping everyone to learn about this wonderfully complex and beautiful part of our natural heritage. This video follows individual volunteers from The Prairie Enthusiasts on their journeys of discovery and stewardship.

Prairie Enthusiasm.jpg

On this episode of America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell, Chuck gets back on the motorcycle to continue his Wisconsin woods adventure. First up – the Urban Wood movement that turns city trees into beautiful heirloom furniture. Then … KABOOM! … as he goes behind the scenes at the Forest Products Lab, the nation’s premiere site for wood research. We go to Sand County to remembering the legacy of forester and conservation hero, Aldo Leopold. And it’s back to school to meet the next generation of forest fans at Log-A-Load for Kids.

AmericanForests_ChuckLeavell.PNG

Photo Credit: James Edward Mills

From coffee and community supported agriculture to cheese making and fine dining, Wisconsin Foodie introduces you to the people who grow and prepare food for a living. This episode begins on a beautiful autumn day at Bonnie’s Diner in Phillips, Wisconsin. Chef Luke Zahm meets local hunters Emily Lehl and Jacob Zueske for breakfast. Then, they take him hunting for grouse and woodcock. Luke ends the day with a special meal of hunter’s stew and deep fried game bird made especially for Jacob and Emily. Discover the stories behind your food with Wisconsin Foodie.

WisconsinFoodie-110519-48 (1).jpg
Baraboo River Title Page 1.jpg

Throughout the late nineteenth century, as many as eleven low head dams were built along the Baraboo River in southwest Wisconsin. As time passed, maintaining these dams became a financial burden to the private landowners and communities that owned them. Beginning in the late 1990’s, a number of conservation groups along with city officials and citizens developed plans to remove dams along the Baraboo River. In October of 2001, the Linen Mill Dam was removed, resulting in a free-flowing river that had not been seen there since the 1930s. This film commemorates the 20 year anniversary of the dam removal project by revisiting the personal experiences of those involved and exploring the improvements to the water quality, fisheries, and adjacent communities since.

Sold Down the River Poster.png

In the state of Wisconsin, third world water conditions have become an epidemic, brought on by factory farms and big agribusiness. Legislators seem to put the interests of their corporate donors over the health and safety concerns of their constituents, and they continue to support bills that protect big business and polluters. This disturbing trend has been happening across the United States.

Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt is on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species – the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – has become his ‘white whale.’


Traveling from state to state in search of the Rusty-patched, he meets the scientists and conservationists working tirelessly to preserve it. Clay’s journey finally brings him to Wisconsin, where he comes face to face with his fuzzy quarry and discovers an answer to the question that has been nagging him all along: why save a species?

A ghost in the making.jpg
WI-Scenic-Treasures-signature-image (1).jpg

Wisconsin’s Scenic Treasures: Southern Vistas is a visually stunning trip across the landscapes of Southern Wisconsin’s most beautiful natural places. Take in the sights and sounds of the region’s forests, prairies, valleys and shorelines, and the flora and fauna that call these places home in this breathtaking celebration of the state’s scenic southern vistas.

"Monty and Rose" tells the story of a pair of endangered piping plovers that successfully nested at Chicago's Montrose Beach in the summer of 2019, the first of the species to nest in Chicago in 64 years. The short, independent documentary chronicles these special birds and an unpredictable series of events including a proposed music festival that propelled the birds to national headlines. "Monty and Rose" features interviews with an array of key players in the story, including biologists, birders, volunteers and the advocates who spoke out when the music festival was proposed. "Monty and Rose" is an independent project, funded through the generous support of backers on Kickstarter.

MontyandRoseLogo (1).jpg
Patagonia - Remothering the Land.jpeg

Regenerative practices and knowledge come from Indigenous and Black farmers, and support healthy soil, animals and people. We asked William Smith, land steward of the Village of Huichin, and Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri, land team member of the Sogorea Te' Land Trust, to share their thoughts on bringing this growing movement back to a centuries-old sustainable agricultural system. A system that has the power to connect communities with the land in a way that is healing and rejuvenating for both people and the planet

Join conservationists from the National Wildlife Federation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation for a cast and blast in Michigan's Upper Peninsula using nonlead tackle to fish for northern pike and trout and nonlead ammunition to hunt for public land ruffed grouse, and learn about why using nonlead ammunition and tackle is important for nongame species like bald eagles and common loons.

NorthWoodsUnleaded (1).jpg

This is the first in a series of dynamic Learning to Hunt videos designed for a novice audience and produced by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Suzy Hasheider, of Leland, Wisconsin, covers the basics of turkey hunting including calling, blinds, decoys, safety, and bird cleaning--and the video is filmed entirely on the beautiful Hashdieder property.  Learning to Hunt Wild Turkeys will be released for public use on the National Turkey Federation website in Spring 2022. Small Game and Deer episodes will follow. Dan Small, of the television series Outdoor Wisconsin, is the series editor.

NWTF Learn To Hunt Wild Turkeys (1).jpg
StoffelPrairie.jpg

Dan Stoffel is a Wisconsin farmer who has installed prairie strips to combat soil erosion and protect water quality. Prairies of the past are becoming a modern conservation tool for Wisconsin farmers. Native prairie plants can act as a sponge to capture soil and nutrient runoff while creating habitat for wildlife. Research from Iowa State University shows planting dense, diverse and deep-rooted prairie strips within farm fields can have disproportionately large environmental benefits. Sand County Foundation and Wisconsin farmers are demonstrating this new conservation strategy.

Charlie Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian are Wisconsin farmers that have installed prairie strips on their farm. Prairies of the past are becoming a modern conservation tool for Wisconsin farmers. Native prairie plants can act as a sponge to capture soil and nutrient runoff while creating habitat for wildlife. Research from Iowa State University shows planting dense, diverse and deep-rooted prairie strips within farm fields can have disproportionately large environmental benefits. Sand County Foundation and Wisconsin farmers are demonstrating this new conservation strategy.

HammerPrairieStrips.jpg

From warming trout streams to decreasing ice cover, lower lake levels to extreme heat, Climate Wisconsin tells stories from a rapidly changing state. All stories are supported by research conducted in collaboration with the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Background essays and teaching tips were developed with support from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Climate Wisconsin is a project of the Educational Communications Board with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Climate WI_Fly Extreme Heat.jpg
Climate WI_Maple.jpg
Climate WI_Fly Fishing.jpg