Badru Mugerwa is part of an international effort to monitor changes in vegetation and animal composition from climate change. His piece of the puzzle is in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, where he sets dozens of camera traps designed to record the movements and habits of animals, which range from agile felines to stolid primates and from tiny deer to giant elephants. It’s a job that connects Mugerwa not only to Bwindi’s animals, and local biodiversity concerns, but also to the global issue of climate change.
John Bedford is a 75-year-old man obsessed with the butterflies. Traveling around the globe — from the jungles of Vietnam to Mayan ruins in Guatemala — to watch and collect the beautiful insects, Bedford’s passion for the extraordinary takes the form of visual poetry in this short documentary. Collecting since childhood, Bedford brings his cherished specimens home to Toronto and carefully preserves them, hoping to make them last forever.
“Science is important,” says Bruce Means, whose investigative work into a species of tiny toads in remotest Guyana, South America, is featured in this engaging short. Science is also, by the look of it, exotic, exciting and not without a hint of danger. His work is about understanding biodiversity in order to help conserve it and to do so, he has to reach the toad’s habitat. In his second foray to the ancient and lost world of the Tepuis, he is joined by National Geographic photographer Joe Riis and professional climber Mark Synnott. The two men help Means, who has 45 years of experience in field ecology and almost none in climbing, descend — and ascend — a sheer, multi-pitch face, making this fun and worthwhile short as much about adventure as science.
There’s a certain effervescent quality to this short film about some older Irish men and women who have a childlike love of bicycling. As one of the featured cyclists puts it, “It’s a great place to dream, a bicycle.”
What does it really take to combine passion for adventure and a responsibility to protect the environment? In this “MoveShake” film, a character-driven series, we meet Gregg Treinish, a National Geographic Adventurer who launched the nonprofit Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) in 2011. Based on the idea that those who recreate in natural areas have a responsibility to protect them, ASC facilitates partnerships between adventure athletes and researchers. Collecting scientific data on expeditions around the world, ASC has projects from Everest to Kilimanjaro. In this film, we see Treinish at home in Bozeman, Montana, and working with middle-school students from Oakland, California, on an expedition in the Sierras, proving that one person can have an impact if they set their mind to it.
A New York City iron worker named Timmy Brennan found escape by surfing in the waves of Breezy Point. Then, Superstorm Sandy hit, destroying everything he had, including his cherished surfboard. The Rider and The Storm (directed by David Darg and Bryn Mooser, the team who brought Baseball in the Time of Cholera to Mountainfilm in 2012) tells this story of Brennan’s loss, but it’s really about what happens to him next — events that will reassure you about human nature.