Environmental literature meets film

Ode+to+Muir%2C+a+film+directed+by+Teton+Gravity+Research%2C+will+be+shown+tonight+at+6+p.m.+in+Jamrich+1100+for+the+English+department%E2%80%99s+%0Awelcome+back+party+to+kick+off+the+new+semester.+%0APhoto+courtesy+of+Teton+Gravity+Research

Ode to Muir, a film directed by Teton Gravity Research, will be shown tonight at 6 p.m. in Jamrich 1100 for the English department’s welcome back party to kick off the new semester. Photo courtesy of Teton Gravity Research

Isabelle Tavares

NMU English department hosts welcome back party with a showing of “Ode to Muir”

Most people are on the world, not in it, wrote John Muir, the environmental writer, co-founder of The Sierra Club and a proponent of Yosemite National Park. His work speaks about how the wilderness gives life to those who seek it.

“Ode To Muir,” a human-powered backcountry snowboard film that celebrates and honors Muir, will be shown on campus tonight at 6 p.m. in Jamrich 1100.

The film by Teton Gravity Research (TGR) documents the journey of professional snowboarders Jeremy Jones and Elena Hight’s trek through the John Muir Wilderness in California’s Eastern Sierra. The directors of the film describe it as a journey that balances the hardships of winter camping and grueling ascents up some of the Sierra’s tallest mountains. TGR highlights the film’s “aesthetic first descents with personal reflections on the importance of the natural world.”

The English department hopes this film showing will be an opportunity for students to socially connect on environmental literature by meeting outside of
the classroom.

“We thought it would be fun to show this film because there’s a relationship to literature: something that we often don’t think of immediately,” English Department Head Lynn Domina said. “It will appeal to students of language and of all kinds of interests in the outdoors and the
environment.”

Established in 1964, the John Muir Wilderness spans 581,000 acres and is located between Kings Canyon National Park to the south and Yosemite National Park to the north. The mountainous region is known for world-class climbing and mountaineering, and holds different wonders than the densely forested Upper Peninsula. Although there are differences in the landscapes, Domina said she thinks the participants’ attitudes toward the
environment is similar to that of the U.P. population.

The department hopes to host more events similar to this, and is doing a lot of brainstorming to bring other literary concerns and ideas into the bigger culture, Domina said. Students involved in extracurricular activities, such as interning at Passages North, the Creative Writing Club and the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta are a part of that culture, Domina said. This event will bring students of all majors together in celebration of a new semester, with a special reenactment of John Muir’s relationship with the environment playing in the forefront, Domina said.

“I think it will appeal to a lot of different people and whoever comes will really enjoy it. It’s certainly open to the entire university and we’re hoping English students come,” Domina said. “We want to help [students] create a culture within the department among themselves to help them get to know each other through activities outside of the classroom.”