The Nature Makers

Crane Fest Feature Film Matinee: The Nature Makers

Sunday, September 5, 2021 - 11:00am to 12:15pm
  • Library Hall
A moving portrait of passionate people and the extraordinary creatures they’re fighting to preserve, including sandhill cranes, humpback chub and prairie dogs.

A special matinee screening for the 10th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival! Masks are required to attend this live event in Library Hall.

WINNER! Best Feature Film at the 2020 Colorado Environmental Film Festival!

In a world increasingly dominated by humans, three teams of wildlife conservationists go to extraordinary and seemingly unnatural lengths to try to save three threatened species in the American heartland. Stunningly photographed in the Grand Canyon and on the American prairie, The Nature Makers follows rugged biologists who’ve deployed helicopters, giant bulldozers and a host of human tools to defend wild nature. In the 21st century, defending the wild often requires, quite paradoxically, technology and aggressive human intervention.

This documentary film shares the story of how we found ourselves on the brink of losing so much of the natural world around us. And, in a time of dire environmental warnings, it charts an optimistic, though unmistakably challenging, path forward.

On the Platte River in Nebraska, dams and agriculture have so changed the landscape that a team of biologists led by Brice Krohn now must scour the river with heavy machinery to perform, with technology, the functions that used to be carried out naturally by spring floods. Without that work, the river landscape that has supported the magnificent sandhill crane migration for hundreds of thousands of years would disappear.

In the American West, dams and intentional poisoning campaigns have driven an important native fish, the humpback chub, to near extinction. Now, deep in the Grand Canyon, a team of biologists led by Brian Healy loads the endangered chub into barrels and flies them by helicopter into remote tributaries of the Colorado River. It’s a last-ditch effort to repopulate the fish into their native streams before the species disappears forever.

In Colorado and South Dakota, decades of organized poisonings and intensive land development have reduced the ecologically pivotal prairie dog to between 1-5% of their original numbers. When alerted to an endangered colony, a team led by Lindsey Sterling Krank uses construction equipment and industrial tubing to build artificial burrows for prairie dogs they’ve rescued from a gruesome death by poison.

Run Time: 

70 min.

About the Yampa Valley Crane Festival: Sept. 2-5, 2021

The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. Returning in the spring, cranes nest and raise their young in wetland areas throughout the valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. The Yampa Valley Crane Festival celebrates these iconic birds with daily crane viewings, expert speakers, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more. Bud Werner Memorial Library is festival headquarters and the venue for many of these talks, films and events. Learn more about the 10th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival.