Seize This Historic Moment to Engage Your Community Via Your Giant Screen Theater
Giant screens provide the world’s most immersive and educational cinema experiences for audiences of all ages to explore the universe and our planet. In the past year, over 15 million people experienced a giant screen presentation in one of the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s member theaters. GSCA members are encouraged to use their platform to join the global effort celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.
Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day. It’s a call to action for citizens of the world to rise up in unity for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery needed to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.
Seize this historic moment to engage your community via your giant screen theater and make a difference by keeping the climate crises in the forefront of your community. As the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, media will be looking for events and initiatives to cover. Don’t miss this media opportunity. Send out press releases at least two months in advance and schedule your multi-channel digital strategy early enough to gain attention as April 22, 2020, approaches.
Many giant screen documentaries address environmental issues. Use this opportunity to reintroduce
those important films in your library
The theme for Earth Day on April 22, 2020, is CLIMATE ACTION. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity as sea levels continue to rise, global admissions increase year over year, and millions have already been displaced because of climate change impacts. Many giant screen documentaries address environmental issues, and some feature engineering solutions. Use this opportunity to reintroduce those important films in your library and enhance them with activities that not only raise awareness of climate change but also show audiences what they can do about it and engage them in citizen science. Incorporate applicable environmental and/or engineering exhibits into your events; coordinate a speaker series; add the theme to camps, labs, demonstrations, scout programs and your special events. Partner with local environmental groups, universities, and meteorologists.
You can find actionable ideas such as lifestyle changes that cut emissions, action on plastics pollution, species protection, university and school teach-ins, tree plantings, local and global cleanups, switching to a more plant-based diets, or voting with your wallet and your ballot at https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/
- Check out Earth Day’s 50th anniversary free environmental education resources that will help you organize your own environmental teach-in in your community! https://www.earthday.org/education-resource-library/
- Take another look at film educator guides provided by distributors to find environmental and conservation tie-ins specific to films
- For more ideas on how to get involved and resources to help you plan, look at initiatives at https://www.earthday.org/campaign/.
- For action ideas go to https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/
- For science and education tool kits go to https://www.earthday.org/our-toolkits/
- Consider joining Artists for the Earth, a global campaign to connect with arts organizations and artists everywhere in order to engage the public with the critical issues of the environment. Invite local artists to display their creations centered on the environment and enlist educators to integrate arts programming about the environment into their curricula. https://www.earthday.org/campaign/artists-for-the-earth/
- For all your activities, leverage social media to engage your community in the conversation about climate change.
- Citizen Science: Join or create a non-native animal or plant roundup in your area. Check your state’s fish and wildlife organization website to see where you can help. South East ocean waters are plagued with many non-native fish like the Lionfish. They may be beautiful with their 18 venomous spines, but they are a predatory reef fish. They eat native fish, which has negative effects on the overall reef habitat and health. You can find roundup events at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which encourages people to remove lionfish from Florida waters to help limit impacts to native marine life and ecosystems.
- If you’re real adventurous, you can organize a Citizen Science group to train for Python Patrol—a network of trained individuals throughout south Florida who know how to identify Burmese pythons, report sightings, and in some cases, capture and humanely kill the snakes. Why remove them? They have eaten their way through much of the native wildlife, including raccoons, foxes, marsh rabbits, and birds. "We have recorded a 99 percent reduction of fur-bearing animals," says Michael Kirkland, Invasive Animal Biologist at South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). "They are now preying on wading birds and even the occasional alligator."
Think about programming for more than just the one day. Celebrate Earth Day the entire month of April. If you are really ambitious, you can carry the celebration through the entire year.
Earth Day 2020 wants to promote your events. Get wider promotion for your activities by listing them at https://www.earthday.org/actions/register-your-earth-day-event/
Tag @EarthDayNetwork and use #EarthDay2020 in your Tweets. Also share your programming plans via GSCA social media. Tag GSCA in your Tweets (@GSCA) and Facebook posts (@giantscreencinema). Use #GSCAEarthDay in your posts or send your information to Kelly Germain at firstname.lastname@example.org to be shared on GSCA channels.
Here are a few documentaries to consider featuring in your Earth Day Celebration
The Story of Earth, directed by Russell Scott and written by Russell Scott and Wain Fimeri and distributed by December Media. The documentary, narrated by Rachel Ward, centers on how contemporary geology has potentially led to a new understanding of how life on Earth came to be.
Great Barrier Reef, a December Media film produced in association with Slattery Family Trust, Biopixel, Soundfirm, Film Victoria, and Screen Queensland and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films. Their educator guide provides lessons on coral reef ecosystems, sustainability and citizen science.
Mountain Adventure: Out of Bounds, A Wild Pacific Media and Definition Films Production in association with K2 Studios and Havoc Television. The film’s educator guide has activities on how the water cycle impacts mountain habitats and the dangerous effects of microplastics.
Planet Power, directed and produced by Pascal and Catherine Vuong and distributed by nWave Pictures Distribution, reveals how, by harnessing abundant renewable natural resources and applying innovative new technologies, the next generation of scientists and adventurers are working to create a sustainable and cleaner energy future.
Flight of the Butterflies is an interconnected scientific adventure story that spans not only thousands of miles, but generations. It’s about the remarkable Monarch butterfly migration, the most incredible migration on Earth, and the determined scientist who spent 40 years trying to discover exactly where the butterflies mysteriously disappeared when they flew south for winter. Flight of the Butterflies is distributed by SK Films. The late Jonathan Barker was the Co-Executive Producer with Wendy MacKeigan Co-Writer. The Educator Guide is full of ideas for activities.
Create your own butterfly garden by planting milkweed. Monarchs are dependent on milkweed and are often referred to as milkweed butterflies. Female monarchs lay not more than one egg per milkweed plant, usually on the underside of leaves, on this group of moderately to highly toxic plants. It is the only group of plants that serve as their host. North America's largest population of monarchs, which migrate between Mexico and the Midwest, has fallen 80 percent, from a billion in the 1990s to 200 million in 2018.
Into America’s Wild, a cross-country adventure that takes you off the beaten path and connects you to your inner trailblazer to some of the most beautiful but little-known landscapes of North America. The film was inspired, in part, by the work of Richard Louv, founder of the Children and Nature Network, whose passion is getting kids to put down their screens and get back into nature—a good theme for Earth Day. Museums can tap into his worldwide Network to gain partners for Earth Day activities as well. The film website features an Educator Section with an educator guide, educator trailer, and a document that connects the film and activities with the Next Generation Science Standards. The Marketing Guide features ideas for a year of nature programming, and a template to plan a Nature Festival at the museum that would be a perfect program for Earth Day. This is a MacGillivray Freeman Film produced in association with Brand USA. Presented by Expedia and United Airlines.
Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction is directed by Sean Casey, distributed by Cosmic Picture and supported by The Nature Conservancy. Audiences are inspired by the successful, heartfelt and ingenious human efforts to rescue endangered species around the world! Companion learning resources developed in partnership with the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale include extension activities that bring real-world relevance to the concepts of environmental science, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and more. The film reminds us that "we protect what we love," which supports the engagement campaign "Promise to Connect with Nature.” Museums have successfully used this to attract audiences through social media, education outreach, and on-site events. After making the "Promise to Connect with Nature," visitors earn a Conservationist Certificate from The Nature Conservancy and receive access to free resources to get them started.
Museums including Buffalo Museum of Science and Fernbank Museum are using Earth Day events to connect Back from the Brink’s inspiring message to local research and success stories, shining a light on work happening in their own cities.
Amy Biber Collson, Director of External Relations at Buffalo Museum of Science, says they are planning a screening of Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction in their D3D Cinema, followed by a discussion regarding local efforts related to the topics highlighted in the film. The panel will have representatives from The Nature Conservancy; the Tifft Nature Preserve, the Museum’s 264-acre nature refuge; and a filmmaker from Back from the Brink.
Brandi Berry, VP of Marketing and Communications at the Fernbank in Atlanta, says they are calling their Earth Day celebration Born to Be Wild Day. They will feature two films in their D3D Cinema: Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction and Hidden Pacific. Hidden Pacific, directed by Ian Shive and distributed by Giant Screen Films, provides an ideal platform to discuss important concepts focused on marine ecosystem interactions (educator guide). Born to Be Wild Day will take place at WildWoods and Fernbank Forest, which features 75 acres of outdoor exhibits, walking trails, a canopy walk, native wildlife and nature playgrounds. Planned activities include live animal encounters, discussion on restoration efforts, an arborist, and an environmental-based artist demonstration on clean practices that can be used when creating art. Partners include the Deep Forest Field School and sponsor Novelis. Fernbank will also continue their partnership with Atlanta’s nature challenge, an initiative to see who can record the most observations in nature using the iNatualist app, which helps users identify the plants and animals around them. iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.
Expedition Chesapeake, A Journey of Discovery, developed by Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, produced by Whitaker Center Productions, and distributed by BIG & Digital. Activities in and out of the classroom that pertain to the health and wellness of the watershed and its inhabitants can be applied to watersheds worldwide. If you would like a free plan outlining how to organize an environmental action project, contact Tina Ratterman at 702-932-4045.
Watermelon Magic, a Spring Garden Pictures production distributed by BIG & Digital, effortlessly illustrates elementary scientific concepts centered on the benefits of growing your own food starting with a few seeds in the backyard. An educator guide that includes the science of growing plants is a perfect resource for Earth Day activities for elementary age children.
Hurricane, produced by Ouragan Films and distributed by nWave Pictures Distribution, is the true story of a 15,000-kilometre journey in the footsteps of one of the most devastating natural events on our planet: the Atlantic Hurricane.
Penguins, produced by Atlantic Productions and distributed by nWave Pictures Distribution, is a story of the most challenging time in a King Penguin’s life, when he is driven to nurture and defend his offspring against harsh weather and fierce predators. This cosmic drama plays out in one of Earth’s last great wildernesses, amid steep mountain ranges and windblown plains half buried beneath snow and ice.
A Beautiful Planet is a breathtaking portrait of Earth from space, providing a unique perspective and increased understanding of our planet and galaxy as never seen before. Made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of our magnificent blue planet — and the effects humanity has had on it over time — captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). From space, Earth blazes at night with the electric intensity of human expansion — a direct visualization of our changing world. But it is within our power to protect the planet. From IMAX Entertainment and Toni Myers. Download the educator's resource guide and supplemental activities, inspired by the film, to enhance your understanding of the Earth, the importance of the ISS, and the work that’s being done to conserve our planet and its resources.
Other films can be found in the GSCA online film database. Search for terms such as nature and ecology for a list of related films.
GSCA looks forward to sharing your Earth Day events and initiatives. And if you haven’t started planning your activities yet, there’s still time to organize meaningful and effective programming. But don’t delay. Your efforts can galvanize communities to act—our planet is counting on us.
Submitted by Marlene Janetos
GSCA Member Services Co-Chair