Local Coastal Dune Lake Documentary to be Featured on PBS

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On Thursday, August 18, the local PBS-Member Station, WFSU-TV, will feature two documentaries that showcase the unique ecology found in our local communities.

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus’ documentary ‘Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast’ and WFSU’s Senior Producer Rob Diaz de Villegas’ documentary ‘Roaming the Red Hills’ explore these aspects of our viewing area as never seen before.

At 8 p.m. ET is Roaming the Red Hills. It digs into the rich ecology of the Red Hills of south Georgia and north Florida area. This visually intriguing film starts in a large privately owned long-leaf forest, maintained through fire for the purpose of quail hunting, but beneficial to many species. From there the documentary heads down to the Red Hills’ rivers and lakes, and explores the diverse wildlife within those waterways. This eco-adventure continues on to areas where local agriculture still thrives and has become an extension of our rural heritage. This is an extended version of the original documentary that first aired in April on WFSU. Learn more about Roaming the Red Hills at www.wfsu.org/ecologyblog.

At 9 p.m. ET, Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast’ dives into why these waters, found along the beaches of a 26-mile stretch of Gulf of Mexico, are unique and what can be done to protect them. Seen by people traveling Scenic Highway 30A, the coastal dune lakes are unusual in how they are formed, how they interact with the Gulf, and the types of flora and fauna that thrive in their presence. Compelling visuals and storytelling showcase a special ecology often overlooked by many. For more information about this film, go to www.coastaldunelakes.org.

L to R: Nic Stoltzfus & Elam Stoltzfus
L to R: Nic Stoltzfus & Elam Stoltzfus

Both documentaries featured on WFSU this Thursday will include special interviews with the producers and others who made these programs possible.

Producer, Director & Cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus joins his screenwriter son, Nic Stoltzfus, to talk about the film and the companion coffee table book. In addition to his work on the film, Nic recently received a 2015 Gold Award for Visual Arts from the Florida Book Awards for his work on the book version of Coastal Dune Lakes. The film-making duo will also preview their next documentary which takes a look at the Great Florida Cattle Drive that took place in central Florida earlier this year.

Meanwhile, WFSU’s Rob Diaz de Villegas talks about his adventures making ‘Roaming the Red Hills’ and how his experiences on WFSU’s ecology beat evolved over the years so that a documentary about our Red Hills became a natural progression of his work. Conservation Biologist Kim Sash from the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy is featured in the Red Hills documentary and also makes an additional appearance this night. She talks more about the importance of educating people about the Red Hills area and introduces us to one of its inhabitants, Polly the Gopher Tortoise.

WFSU-TV created this special lineup of programming to highlight the unique ecology of our viewing area and to showcase how quality programming of this uniquely local nature can’t be found anywhere else on television. The summer pledge drive takes place August 18 and August 21 – September 5.

To learn more, visit WFSU Public Media.