May 26th, 2017

Waterton Biosphere featured in documentary

By Villeneuve, Melissa on January 11, 2017.

Stephanie Labbe

Southern Alberta Newspapers – Waterton

In November, the Waterton Biosphere Reserve was featured on a documentary on TVO.

Jen Jenkins, communications co-ordinator for the Waterton Biosphere Reserve (WBR) Association, says they were first approached in 2012 with the idea of doing a national documentary on biosphere reserves in Canada.

In October 2013, she says the WBR met for the first time with director Zack Melnick and the first filming in the area was in February 2014. The documentary series is called “Striking Balance.”

The Waterton episode of the documentary premiered to local audiences at special viewings in Pincher Creek and Cardston in October.

“For the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, this was an opportunity to share with a national audience the beauty of our area and demonstrate how over the years many different people have come to love the land in this area and work to conserve it for future generations,” says Jenkins.

Being featured in a television documentary was an honour for the Waterton Biosphere organizers and Jenkins says it was a positive experience.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be featured in such a professionally done national documentary series,” she adds.

“It was interesting for us to work with the producers and crews who were from outside of the Waterton Biosphere area and see this area through and outside perspectives and which stories were of interest to them. It was also really interesting to see the different cinematography, such as the drone footage, which provides unique and spectacular views from the area.”

As part of the documentary, there are eight of Canada’s 18 biosphere reserves featured in the first season of “Striking Balance.” One of three episodes includes the Waterton Biosphere Reserve.

Jenkins says they hope that in general, people will gain a better understanding of what biosphere reserves are and their roles in the environment and communities.

She explains a large part of the Waterton episode features local ranchers who talk about stewarding the lands and their experiences living and ranching in the area.

The Waterton episode also tells the story of the many generations who have helped preserve the special landscape of the park.

“The documentary, of course, would not be complete without talking about the core of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, which is Waterton Lakes National Park. From its establishment in 1895, Waterton Lakes National Park has worked to find ways that visitors can enjoy the spectacular scenery and find recreation in the area in a way that complements ecology here rather than depleting it,” adds Jenkins.

There were several people featured in the Waterton episode of the documentary including Tony Bruder, Dustin Flundra, Burke Nish and Jeff Bectell.

Jenkins says the Waterton and seven other episodes of biosphere reserves across Canada are available for a limited time online at striking-balance/ep-8-waterton.

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