Nature Calls: Celebrated Alberta Wildlife Filmmaker to Debut Swan Song

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(from l to r) Film-making Dream Team: Pirkko and Albert Karvonen

(from l to r) Film-making Dream Team: Pirkko and Albert Karvonen

STORY UPDATE: May 21, Replay of The Forest is CallingTONIGHT – May 21 2015,  in the Community Centre at the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. This DVD was originally released in Athabasca on April 9th. See Article Below.

 

 

 

 

Famed Canadian wildlife and conservation filmmaker Dr. Albert Karvonen will debut his latest and last film at 7 p.m., Thurs. April 9, in the Governing Council Chambers at AU.

The Forest is Calling is the esteemed octogenarian’s swan-song on celluloid as he enters into retirement following a long and illustrious career as Alberta school teacher-turned-filmmaker (and generous AU donor), producing more than 120 award-winning and awareness-raising nature films for audiences worldwide.

The hour-long, high-definition film takes viewers through Karvonen’s months-long, spectacular nature-infused trek through the majestic northern boreal forests of Alberta and Finland (where his roots lie).

Karvonen, a life-long and impassioned proponent of wildlife preservation, says it’s critical we do what we can to protect Canada’s beloved boreal – one of the world’s largest ecosystems and greenspace for countless forms of wildlife.

From lynx, timber wolves, caribou and yellow-bellied sapsuckers to ruffed grouse and blackpoll warblers which can fly upwards of 2,800 km at a stretch (with hearts tinier than a pencil eraser head) – this up-close glimpse of creatures in their natural habitat will no doubt leave viewers in awe.

“A ruffed grouse drumming on the log – you not only see the beautiful coloration of the feathers, the action of the wings, but you hear the sound from the slow, methodical drum beat to the rapid succession of wind beats in the end; it’s all in sync,” Karvonen explains.

Karvonen and his wife, Pirkko, also an award-winning film producer and photographer, have designated the majority of their Alberta property as a conservation site in perpetuity.

Present threats to the boreal’s existence include clear-cut logging, the oil, gas and mining industries and land development.

The Karvonens are asking citizens to help protect 50 per cent of Canada’s boreal forest – which produces much of the world’s fresh water – and offer film viewers timely suggestions on how regular folks can make a difference by doing the simplest things.

Says Albert Karvonen: “We’re losing the forest at a rapid rate. Canada has been listed as the number-one country in terms of forest degradation the way we are consuming it.”

In 2012, Karvonen committed to a five-year donation of $250,000 to Science Outreach-Athabasca which promotes science awareness in the Athabasca area through community outreach initiatives.

“We at Athabasca University, and the citizens of Athabasca and beyond, are benefactors of the valuable legacy that Albert and Pirkko have provided through the stories they weave of the natural world and its residents,” says Dr. Lisa Carter, dean, Faculty of Science and Technology.

“They draw on examples of how fragile our world can become, and give us pause for thought that our actions can have dire consequences. Their emphasis on encouraging all of us to become stewards of our land will leave a better world for the future.”

The Forest is Calling is open to the public at no cost. Karvonen will be available to answer audience questions following the film.