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This Week’s Creature Feature ... For the Birds

Patuxent Wildlife Art Show screens movies with a message

For 23 years, the Friends of the Patuxent have raised funds for their beloved natural refuge by holding a weekend-long art show and sale. For 20 years, The Environmental Film Festival has raised awareness for the decline of the planet by screening green-themed films in the D.C. area. Three years ago the groups joined forces.
    “We have a giant auditorium here at the visitor’s center,” says Wildlife Art Show publicity chair Lisa Bierer-Garrett. “I thought it would be great if we could be a venue for the film festival, since we have the same mission.”
    This year, the refuge is taking wing to raise awareness for endangered birds. Leading the line-up at 9:30am is The History of Patuxent: America’s Conservation Research Story.
    Next, showing at 10:30am and 2:45pm, comes Anna, Emma and the Condor, a film about a family that cares for California condors in hopes of saving the species from extinction. This documentary has its own Patuxent connections: Some of the giant birds of prey were raised on the grounds in a program to reintroduce the species to the wild. After the screening, a bird of prey appears at a wildlife talk.
    The final film, Endangered Hawaii, showing at 12:30pm and 2pm, is about the extinction of 71 of the 113 native Hawaiian bird species and what is being done to preserve the remaining avians. The movie has close ties to the refuge, as Patuxent researchers are working on the Hawaiian problem. After the film, speak with them in an open Q&A.
    The screenings have brought a new crowd, including nearby District residents, to the annual art show, which itself draws some 1,000 viewers each day. Come early as the free film typically draw audiences 600 strong.
    Patuxent Wildlife Arts Show and Sale: www.friendsofpatuxent.org.
    Environmental Film Festival: www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.