On Nov. 4, Maryville College hosted a screening for “Hidden Rivers” in Lawson Auditorium at 7 p.m. Throughout the film, the vast amounts of biodiversity within Southern Appalachian waters is explored.
National Park Services, Little River Watershed Association, Great Smokey Mountain Institute at Tremont, Discover Life in America, and Friends of the Smokies all made it possible for a decade of work to be comprised into this one-hour documentary.
The Southern Appalachian region contains the most biologically rich rivers and streams within North America, and the film expresses this through revealing the beauty and vulnerability within its [the rivers’] aquatic life.
The director of the documentary, Jeremy Monroe, reached out to the president of the Little River Watershed Association, Andrew Gunnoe—who also happens to be an associate professor of sociology who teaches the environmental sociology course at Maryville College. This made it possible for the documentary to be featured in Lawson.
“If you love the nature and beauty of East Tennessee and Southern Appalachia, you should see this film,” Monroe said. “After watching this film, you will come to love nature more and want to protect what is out there.”
Within the film, various types of creatures like dart fish, sturgeons, sucker fish, hellbenders and mussels are mentioned. It examines their eating habits, migratory patterns, and reproductive behaviors. The documentary also captures a perspective from someone who loves the outdoors dearly, Casper Cox. Cox is an underwater explorer who enjoys the aesthetics of aquatic environments.
Cox said, “Every river … every stream offers something different, but they all come with great beauty and lush life.” He is not the only one to acknowledge the importance of this film.
“Hidden Rivers” has made such an impact on the environment that it will be reviewed by the EPA in a few weeks. The purpose of EPA’s review of the film will be to determine the accuracy of the film and confirm that the movie is what it set out to be, one that promotes flourishing aquatic life.
“Don’t take our environment for granted,” Gunnoe said. “Get out and enjoy the waters. That is the first step. Once you start to enjoy the rivers, you’ll start to care about it, and the rest will soon follow.”
There are various ways to approach the outdoors and to begin to acquire a love for it. There are activities such as river cleanups, swimming, paddle boarding or whitewater rafting. Mountain Challenge offers several of these events and others like kayaking and snorkeling.
“There are numerous ways to be involved with the aquatic life,” said biologist Matt Kulp. “The only hard part is finding out where to start and who to start with, but once you get past that, then it feels second nature to be in the water.”
For more information about “Hidden Rivers,” check out the Facebook page or follow the Instagram page (@freshwatersillustrated). You can also visit the website hiddenrivers.org.