Reviving Affection: Sense of Place in the Belgrade Lakes

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After an entire summer of interviewing watershed residents, uncovering local history, and collecting video footage, the EPSCoR Sense of Place team put together the following film titled, Reviving Affection: Sense of Place in the Belgrade Lakes. The film is comprised of three sections: The past, the current sense of place, and poetry. It contains historical pictures and video footage from the early 20th century as well as interviews and original poetry from real watershed residents.

The film is essentially a social marketing approach to change people’s attitudes and behaviors regarding sustainable living. This is done by inspiring and reviving people’s affection for a place whose beauty is sometimes taken for granted. The film is intended to evoke feelings of nostalgia, respect for the land, and a vision for the lake’s future.  A reoccurring theme in the film is the timelessness of the lakes as the generations pass by. This theme is emphasized through visual images, narration, and interviews. A message builds off this theme that timelessness is only a reality if we learn to love and live in harmony with the land and lakes. We cannot simply sit by as stakeholders and residents and expect the lakes to stay pristine forever. Our past, our future, and community all depend on the land. In the end, the film stresses the importance of conservation to keeping all this alive.

Although the film doesn’t directly talk about conservation or lake science, its contribution to the EPSCoR project has immeasurable value. Film, especially one made in this fashion, has the ability to connect with watershed residents and visitors who may not be familiar with lake science and conservation efforts. It answers the “why conserve?” question in a personable fashion that people are naturally drawn to. A straight scientific approach to conservation is often unappealing or overwhelming to the average citizen who cannot relate to or understand the numbers and figures of quantitative research. The qualitative approach of this film eases viewers of all ages into the practice of conservation through the use of poetry, music, photographs, natural sounds, and video footage. This sort of approach has a heightened ability to draw new members into the conservation movement and serve as a gateway to lake science and more quantitative analysis. People who watch this film will have a better understanding of the importance of programs such as the Maine Lakes Resource Center, Lake Smart, courtesy boat inspections, and milfoil prevention.

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