On Friday, November 17th from 6:30 to 9:00, the Farmington River Watershed Association in Simsbury, Connecticut will be hosting a Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour event at the Collinsville Town Hall Auditorium. They will be showing an array of environmental films, as well as three of their own short films: “Rivers Cannot Defend Themselves” by Matt Vinick honoring David Sinish, who was a main force that brought the Wild & Scenic designation to the Farmington River in 1994 and was a beloved river advocate and paddler; “Inspired by the Farmington” by Rick Warters with accompanying music composed by Dave Donaldson and Marc Shulman; and “FRCC 2023 River Stewards” by Stephan Bastryzcki.
They are planning on using the occasion to celebrate the two national Wild & Scenic designations on the Upper Farmington River and on the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook. They will be offering popcorn, hot cider, and donuts from the Pickin’ Patch in Avon, Farmington River Watershed Association merchandise, and a raffle! All ticket holders will have access to Video-on-Demand until 11/21 to watch the program virtually.
The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is a citizen-based, non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It was founded by local residents in 1953 to address critical water quality problems. Today, FRWA still leads in addressing Farmington River issues such as water quality, water allocation, habitat restoration, recreation, open space, and wetland and floodplain protection. They work with federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and with people in the watershed’s 33 communities to protect the river and its surrounding landscape. With the help of members, supporters and partners, they look after the river with a wide range of research, education, and advocacy programs.
The FRWA staff and volunteers are able to work with residents, towns, and the state to maintain and improve the water quality in their watershed. They actively engage in Research & Water Quality Monitoring (sampling for E. Coli, road salt pollution, temperatures, Macroinvertebrates, and cyanobacteria). The FRWA also provides a range of information on habitat studies and restoration while engaging in hands-on stewardship programs, including monitoring dams and culverts, as well as invasive species management. From school programs to publications, the FRWA is committed to providing the tools to educating the community about protecting and improving their river. This includes a rich resource library, as well as lesson plans designed for elementary, middle, and high school students, online activities, publications, canoe trips, and more.
They also offer the David Sinish Memorial Recreation Access Fund which supports recreational access to the Farmington River by providing the resources for everyone to enjoy paddlesports — especially the BIPOC community and people with disabilities and mobility impairments — including kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. They imagine using this fund to provide youth groups trips, sponsoring paddling events that host a diverse community, and scholarships for athletes in need.
November’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour Event marks the sixth year that Farmington River Watershed Association has hosted. According to Farmington River Watershed Association’s Conservation Director Laura Hart, the event “… is a great way for us to reach out to our members and to gain new members – all together at a fun and inspiring event celebrating our Wild & Scenic designated Farmington River.” Hart’s favorite part of hosting the event is “showing films from across the world that resonate with issues facing our river and our local community. It brings a sense of togetherness and hope for change.”