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‘Arcade Creek Project’ doc tells story of Cal high school students working to save dying ecosystem


The 8th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival invades venues across Lee County between March 21 and March 25, and one of the short documentaries it will screen during its five-day run is Director Jierel Almario’s The Arcade Creek Project: A Mosaic of Sustainability. The 30-minute film tells the story of a small group of high schoolers who attempt to save the dying ecosystem of a small, deteriorated creek before it is gone forever.

Arcade Creek flows locally 16.2 miles from the North Natomas Canal to the Sacramento Bay Delta. Home to a plethora of wildlife and native plants, the creek is the largest urban watershed in Northern California. A century ago, the Arcade Creek was thriving with salmon. Now, it is a dying ecosystme plagued with sewage, trash and homeless encampments. But students in the Mira Loma High School’s International Diploma Program are attempting to return the creek to the pristine state it was in one hundred years ago.

To facilitate this effort, they are collecting scientific data to determine the overall health of the creek, spreading the word to the community through educational outreach, and restoring and preserving the health of the creek through unified student efforts. They call these initiatives the Arcade Creek Project, and it maintains its viability year after year as juniors replace departing seniors to take on the roles of managers and leaders.

“The goal of the Arcade Creek Project is to break down a complex ecosystem into analyzable data for assessment,” states the team. “This process then utilizes eleven studies to holistically determine the health of the watershed. As Arcade Creek is a vital life support for many species, the destruction of this riparian community could cause irreversible damage to the natural life around the area. Our Outreach group serves to enlighten our community to these effects and educate them about the importance of the environment. Additionally, all students participate in restoration efforts to remove invasive species and maintain the creek’s natural balance.”

The Arcade Creek Project has received many grants, awards, and acknowledgements since its inception in 1989, including The Sacramento Urban Creek Council Creek Steward Award and the 2004 Government’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. Other groups that have provided grants and awards include the Sacramento River Cats, Wells Fargo Bank, and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation.

The documentary tells the story of the Mira Loma High students’ ongoing efforts to bring the creek back to its natural beauty of a century ago. The documentary is currently an official selection of 16 film festivals, including the Sacramento Film & Music Festival, Los Angeles CineFest and EyeCatcher International Film Festival. It’s won nine awards to date, including Best Documentary Short/First Place Gold at the Peak City International Film Festival and the Gottlieb Award for Environmental Excellence at the G2 Green Earth Film Festival in Los Angeles. It was also a Best Documentary Short Nominee at this year’s Barcelona Planet Film Festival. It will soon be available as a video on demand.

You can view a 1.35 minute trailer for the documentary here.

The documentary will be shown twice during the Fort Myers Film Festival: at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts and at  1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

March 11, 2018.



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