Film on Saving Grasslands

Cile Downs, left, with Dai Dayton and Sandra Ferguson, appear in a short film made by Ms. Downs and the Accabonac Protection Committee about preserving natural grasslands. It will be shown Friday, July 19 at the Springs Presbyterian Church.

    The seventh installment of the Accabonac Protection Committee’s Long Live Accabonac film series, “Grasslands,” will be screened on Friday, July 19, at the Springs Presbyterian Church. The free showing will start at 7:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion and refreshments.

    In the movie, several of Long Island’s grasslands are depicted, as well as many of the various species of plants and wildlife living in them. “Grasslands” mainly emphasizes how the grasslands and all of their plants and wildlife are in danger of extinction today.

    “Anyone connected to the environment should see this film,” said its producer and writer, Cile Downs.

    The 30-minute film continues the protection committee’s series of environmental offerings. Others in the series include “Salt Marsh,” “Dark Skies,” and “American Lawn.” The entire series is available at the East Hampton Library, the Amagansett Library, and the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton. Each can also be found on YouTube.

    Ms. Downs came up with the idea for the series several years ago. She had been volunteering at the LTV station, where there was always a lack of material to air, she said, when she thought of making environmental videos. She collaborated with Genie Henderson of Springs for the first few episodes, producing the videos for the Accabonac Protection Committee. As more episodes were produced, Matt Hindra, a professional cameraman and editor, was hired to help.

    “Grasslands” took almost a year to make, mainly because of unavailable participants or bad weather. “We were delayed by every conceivable problem,” Ms. Downs said. Production was “very painful and long.”

    The film has no story, per se, since “there’s no beginning or end” in the ongoing effort to preserve the grasslands, Ms. Downs said. Instead, it follows a number of experts describing the importance of the grasslands and how they are threatened. The participants are all “big authorities and experts on the subject,” as Ms. Downs put it. The primary and most quoted expert is John Turner, a well-known naturalist who played a large role in the establishment of the Pine Barrens reserve on Long Island.

    Looking ahead, “I’ve always wanted to do an episode on the situation with the beaches,” Ms. Downs said.

    “Over all, I’m very glad we did it,” she said. “ ‘Grasslands’ was one of the best episodes in the series, if not the best, and it carried its message very well.”