Trees take root in film

College Park, MD (August 2, 2010)- It’s been a blistering summer around the country, but in most places even standard summer weather is too hot for tree planting. Local greening organizations and tree lovers across the country are beating the heat by staying cool indoors while watching tree-related movies.  Here are several recent favorites that will inspire and educate your tree team.


What better way to escape the heat than hosting a “DIRT!” movie night for your most loyal volunteers? Or awarding a partner, board member, or standout staff with a movie about Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai? Trees are the stars in these movies, with their story being told by people from government agencies to local communities. These films entertain audiences of all ages with captivating storylines. So, while you’re preparing for the upcoming tree planting season, pop in a DVD for volunteers, give a movie to a fellow organization as a gift, encourage environmental educators to use these movies in the classroom, or post the films on your website. Spread the message about trees through the big screen.

Community Trees: A Living Investment
Community Trees: A Living Investment, a new media resource developed by the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area (NA), promotes the value of trees in our lives and communities using validated scientific research and citizen testimonials. The series targets three specific audiences that can make a difference in supporting community forestry-citizens, community advocates, and decision-makers. These groups can generate support for tree planting, tree care, and educational programs to ensure that community forests are as healthy and diverse as possible and provide continued benefits for future generations.
More information at: Community Trees: A Living Investment

DIRT! The Movie
DIRT! The Movie- directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow- takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth’s most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility- from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation. Narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis, the movie brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.
More information at: DIRT! The Movie

The Forest Where We Live
Narrated by actor Sam Waterston, star of “Law And Order” and “The Killing Fields,” The Forest Where We Live is a documentary produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting which looks at successful educational and hands-on conservation programs developed around the country that try to halt the deforestation of our cities and plant new trees. Trees also have a major effect on the climate, especially our cities’ microclimates. Cities such as Sacramento, Milwaukee, and Austin have formed successful public-private coalitions to get new trees planted and educate people about the importance of preserving these vital resources. More cities around the nation are joining this movement each year.
More information at: The Forest Where We Live

Return to the Forest Where We Live
Return to the Forest Where We Live includes a look at the devastation of the urban forests in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Katrina. Prior to the storm, New Orleans was one of the most forested cities in the country. More than 70% of the trees in the Crescent City were damaged by the storm and the flooding that followed and one-fifth of the half million trees planted in the city’s public parks and other public spaces were destroyed. Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the narrator.
More information at: Return to the Forest Where We Live

From Sketch to Street
Interested in designs for urban forests? This DVD was produced by the USDA Forest Service’s Northeast Center for Urban & Community Forestry, in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and National Grid USA. The video presents an introduction to the use of trees as a streetscape design element and outlines key concepts in the successful selection, planting and maintenance of urban trees. The video has been produced for presentation to landscape architects, planners, arborists, community groups, policy makers and tree boards.  Using video footage and animated graphics this video provides an introduction to the use of trees as a streetscape design element. 
More information at: From Sketch to Street

Lurking in the Trees
Lurking in the Trees is a documentary about what happened to a community infested with an invasive tree-killing insect. It is a true story of devastation, cooperation, and renewal. It started when a sinister-looking bug fell on someone’s lap in a backyard on a summer afternoon. That chance discovery led to a terrible realization: insect-invaders from Asia were killing trees in New England, and the only way to stop the pests was to cut down and grind up over 25,000 trees. Worcester, MA could be any town in America – not too big, not too small – but it learned that, in today’s world of nearly infinite international trade, an invasive pest can sneak in, become established, and wreak havoc, unless citizens are informed and vigilant.
More information at: Lurking in the Trees

Taking Root; The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy-a movement for which this charismatic woman became an iconic inspiration.
More information at: Taking Root; The Vision of Wangari Maathai