The man behind Freshwaters Illustrated inspired guests of a recent Joan and Dick Stroud Memorial Lecture and local students to protect freshwater ecosystems.
“It’s like the WWF,” rang out the delighted voices in the sixth-grade Earth sciences class at Upland Country Day School as they watched two hellbenders wrestle in a short film from Freshwaters Illustrated, The Last Dragons.
The special guest visiting the class and at the latest Joan and Dick Stroud Memorial Lecture on December 7 was filmmaker and aquatic ecologist Jeremy Monroe. He founded Freshwaters Illustrated as a way to share science through cinematography. Through meetings at the Society for Freshwater Science as well as Freshwater Illustrated’s numerous films shown at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, his scope of work has been familiar to the Stroud Center for some time.
This summer, David Bressler had the opportunity to spend some days in the field with Monroe, who is working with Green Valleys Watershed Association as part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. Monroe is creating a series of short videos that will show the unique aquatic and water-connected fauna of the region, conservation needs of these ecosystems, and the work of conservation partners in the Schuylkill Highlands Cluster.
At the Stroud Center’s invitation, Monroe stopped by Upland Country Day School to talk about watersheds and show some stunning underwater films during a 45-minute presentation. The students were buzzing with excitement. Inspired by their response to the presentation and to discovering some of what takes place underwater, Monroe said, “My cup is now full!”
The excitement continued into the evening during the main event, as more than 100 guests were spellbound by a story of North America’s most biologically rich waters and those working to protect them.
Monroe gave an overview of some of his work, the people he has met, and the stories he has told before showing the Pennsylvania premiere of Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia. Along with a cast of characters not to be forgotten, the audience learned about the biodiversity of fish throughout this region, what folks are doing to preserve it, and how river snorkeling is a wonderful way to become immersed in the surprisingly vibrant underwater environments of rivers and streams.
One young guest was completely enamored and diligently took notes. Once home, she promptly requested snorkeling gear for her upcoming birthday.
While the Stroud Center’s 2022 events have come to a close with the conclusion of this lecture, please know that we have exciting plans up our sleeves for 2023. We hope to see you either on our campus or in the White Clay Creek watershed sometime in the near future!