Nature Movies

Join The Land trust of Virginia, Goose Creek Association, and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters at this viewing of Plastic Paradise on March 6, 7pm at The Hill School, Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center , 130 S. Madison Street, Middleburg.  Doors open at 6:30.RSVP to



With so many people involved in Loudoun County’s Monarch efforts, it’s a delight to shine a spotlight on some of them, so we thought it would be purposeful to share a few exciting and diverse efforts coming out of Loudoun county.

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy joined in the extraordinary citizen science and conservation effort for the Monarch butterfly in 2013 by launching the “Bringing Back the Monarch, Keeping the Magic Alive” program consisting of several important goals.  A local information campaign is key to this effort, including public talks, workshops, and hands-on opportunities to learn about raising and releasing Monarchs and restoring and protecting the dwindling habitat along their migratory path between Mexico and Canada.

The campaign has been enthusiastically embraced county-wide and has inspired eagerness among all age groups, resulting in a deeply committed effort across so many levels of involvement.  Dozens of Loudoun’s public and private schools have taught their students by planting and registering Monarch Waystations, and countless residents now know of and understand the importance of Milkweed, the Monarch’s only host plant.

In my own close-knit community, South Riding, it is not so rare to see a neighbor of mine now carefully turning over milkweed leaves in the yard. Such selfless volunteers are looking for Monarch eggs or caterpillars.  They have joined in the effort because the Monarch is a creature we can save just by KNOWING more and adjusting our compass to align with their needs as they journey North and South, crisscrossing Loudoun County in that tell-tale glide as they seek out a nectar source or a tender milkweed plant just right for egg-laying. We are making a difference in that magical journey here in Loudoun County, one garden plot or Monarch talk at a time.

"Tres Amigos" 4th generation caterpillars in Loudoun, so to be adults Monarchs headed to Mexico. Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

“Tres Amigos” 4th generation caterpillars in Loudoun, soon to be adult Monarchs headed to Mexico.
Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

From all corners of Loudoun, we are hearing reports of Monarch caterpillar and butterfly sightings (please report your sightings to Journey North), we receive inquiries about how to rear the caterpillars, and we answer requests for native plant and milkweed plant needs with plant sales to foster the development of habitats across our area.  Waystations bursting with these native beauties and with the Monarch’s milkweed are now popping up on apartment balconies, in school courtyards, in park meadows, and in front yard planter beds.  These Waystations are diligently registered with Monarch Watch, too.  And why is that, really…why REGISTER your garden?  Well, among the many incentivizing reasons, my favorite is that a SIGN goes up to communicate the good news of the important work that space is now up to. That sign is powerful because people walking past stop to read it, then they ask questions or visit the website whimsically scripted at the bottom ( Really, a sign like that on a garden means something special is going on, and people want to know more.  That’s the golden ticket! It’s the Salesman’s “grab” convincing you that there is something new to learn today. Remember those neighbors of mine I mentioned…those curious souls staring carefully into the milkweed?  They saw our sign, and then they asked what it was all about.  Sometimes, it’s just that easy. In other ways, the efforts are more gregarious and elbow-greased.

Ed Felker's Waystation proves successful in its first season. Photo Credit: Ed Felker

Ed Felker’s Waystation proves successful in its first season.
Photo Credit: Ed Felker

To start with, our dedicated president, Nicole Hamilton, along with another very active Loudoun Monarch advocate, Caroline Kuhfahl, has been writing letters and hosting meetings with local wineries (like 868 Vineyard and Sunset Hills) to foster event planning initiatives that call attention to the wonderful butterfly habitat opportunities available on the grounds of these vineyards. There are several events in the works, and some already successfully held, so keep your eyes on the events calendar to catch the next “WINGS & WINE” event (to be posted).

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy works with public libraries, parks, and community centers all over Loudoun County to host Monarch talks aimed at informing our local communities of the plight of the Monarch and to invite citizens to be awed by the Monarch’s unique story.  In addition, a series of “Raising and Releasing Monarchs” workshops have been very popular and have equipped a growing crowd of citizen scientist volunteers with the knowledge, the tools, and the support to collect eggs and caterpillars from the wild that are then reared in captivity to be released as adult butterflies.  This is a fascinating and joyful journey for all involved.  One such Loudouner, Ed Felker, wrote about his first-time experience raising and releasing Monarchs this summer in a stunningly poetic photo-essay.  If you have not read it yet, here is the link; trust me, you’ll feel as though you are watching it all unfold before your own eyes.

A stunning capture of this last life cycle stage. Photo Credit: Ed Felker

A stunning capture of this last life-cycle stage.
Photo Credit: Ed Felker

Loudoun citizens are showing their commitment to habitat restoration, too.  Aside from the countless private Waystations, Monarch Waystations are now registered at public spaces including Ashburn Farms, Brambleton, Loudoun Soccer Park (where Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch himself planted milkweed), and at over 30 Loudoun County Public Schools. This is an extraordinary response! In an effort to learn just how many Monarch releases are occurring in Loudoun County, Loudoun Wildlife has created an online form where citizens can report their release data.  The total count and information will be displayed on Loudoun Wildlife’s website–that portion is still in development to be deployed in the coming days. Click HERE to enter YOUR releases!

The greatest hope of all of these sorts of activities is to spread a little wonder with the education we are sharing.  Wonder leads to that special kind of curiosity that motivates one to seek information. More than a year ago, that marvelous wonder sparked something in a now 9-year old Loudoun student, Carter Steadman.  Carter has been chasing down every bit of current Monarch information available, and he’s been chasing Monarchs through milkweed patches, collecting over 200 eggs and caterpillars this season alone.  It’s a daily exercise in observation and careful caterpillar headcounts as he rears his Monarchs to adults that flit off with whimsy while he watches with that stunning wonder in his smile. He is determined to save this creature, and he takes every opportunity to tell anyone willing to listen, earning him the nickname, “The Monarch Kid.”


Child-like wonder is all over Carter Steadman's face as he admires the Monarch caterpillar. Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

Child-like wonder is all over Carter Steadman’s face as he admires the Monarch caterpillar.
Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

Brotherly love. Photo Credit:Sarah Steadman

Brotherly love.
Photo Credit:Sarah Steadman

This summer, Carter’s level of passion, along with his natural at-ease disposition, have been at play for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Monarch.  He has presented with Nicole Hamilton to children and families at local libraries and community centers, and he has created and planted four registered Monarch Waystations, including a very large and already successful garden at his school, Hutchison Farm Elementary School in South Riding. Planting events at his school were held at the end of May to put the plants in place for summer, and Carter tended to the school’s garden twice a week all summer making sure it was weeded, watered, and ready for Monarchs should they arrive.  Well, in his own words, “THEY CAME, I FOUND A MONARCH!”  The first Monarch caterpillar was found in mid July, and since then Carter has found eggs, caterpillars, and butterflies in the garden.  He proudly reared the first caterpillar at home and released it back into the school’s garden as a healthy adult male named “Husky” in honor of the school’s mascot. Carter’s enthusiasm for sharing the magic of the Monarch with the students led the school to rename the hallway leading to the garden “Monarch Hallway,” which Carter thought was pretty cool because it means “…everyone will say ‘MONARCH’ every day, and that means people will be wondering about Monarchs.”  We think he’s on to something there.

The Monarch Waystation Carter planted at his school, Hutchison Farm Elementary School, is active with Monarchs just 2 months after planting. The students who helped plant this garden are learning hands-on that they are "never too young to make a difference." Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

The Monarch Waystation Carter planted at his school, Hutchison Farm Elementary School, is active with Monarchs just 2 months after planting. The students who helped plant this garden are learning hands-on that they are “never too young to make a difference.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

Perhaps the most special part of Carter’s efforts is that he truly has a tireless passion for the recovery of the Monarch migration…he believes recovery will happen. This is not a “maybe” or “if” scenario for him, perhaps because he is only 9 and at this young age possibilities are limitless, or perhaps because part of the answer to the problem is so simple:  tell people.  Share what you know.  When people know better, they often do better.  And so, Carter tells people…and some people with rather large audiences have started listening. Louder voices, like local and national newspapers and TV news, are helping Carter share the magic of the Monarch.  This summer, Carter was filmed for “The Meadow Project”, an independent educational “documentary focused on showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.” Nicole & Carter were also interviewed for a news spot related to the recent pollinator task force appointed by the White House. The piece aired in California where a portion of the annual migration takes place. Such opportunities to share Loudoun’s efforts far and wide have an important role toward inspiring others to become involved, and ultimately impact the Monarch’s chance to bounce back. See the news video HERE.

"On your way Little Lady...enjoy your journey," says Carter, releasing a healthy female. Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

“On your way Little Lady…enjoy your journey,” says Carter, releasing a healthy female.
Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman

Follow Carter on Facebook, join in any of Loudoun Wildlife’s free events, and participate from the comfort of your home by simply sharing this post with your own networks in a sort of information migration effort.

carter mon on head






350 Loudoun set up this great opportunity to see Carbon Nation — details are below:


 “Excellent.” The Los Angeles Times

“Lively and Fun.” The Seattle Times

“Entertaining … endearing … and exceptional.” The Huffington Post


carbon nation’ movie screening
Please join us on Monday, August 26 for a local screening of ‘carbon nation,’ a climate change solutions movie.

DATE:  August 26, 2013
LOCATIONS: Meeting Room, Rust Library

380 Old Waterford Rd NW, Leesburg, VA 20176



Watch the trailer here About the Film:
Tired of the doom-and-gloom news about climate change? ‘carbon nation’ is an inspirational, optimistic, solutions-based, non-preachy, non-partisan, big tent film that shows tackling climate change boosts the economy, increases national & energy security and promotes health & a clean environment.

Narrated by Bill Kurtis, the cast includes: Richard Branson (CEO, Virgin Group), Thomas L. Friedman (The New York Times), Former CIA Director James Woolsey, Van Jones (Founder, Green For All), Col. Dan Nolan, U.S. Army (Ret), Bernie Karl (Geothermal pioneer from Alaska), Denis Hayes (Founder of Earth Day), Cliff Etheredge



If you haven’t, I highly recommend it – in fact, everyone I know (adults, kids and everyone in between) who has gone to see it raves about it! It’s more than a movie, it’s a really cool 3D experience – like floating with the butterflies! The story and the facts you come away with are terrific and the visual experience is amazing.

It’s still playing at the IMAX theater at the Museum of Natural History in DC – showings are at 10:30, 1:10, 2:45 and 4:15 — make a day trip out of it!  Gather up some friends, grab the kids and trek on into town, visit the museum, take in the film and have a nice lunch!

flight-butterfliesFlight of the Butterflies 3D

Runtime: 44
MPAA Rating: G

The monarch butterfly is a true marvel of nature. Weighing less than a penny, it makes one of the longest migrations on Earth across a continent to a place it has never known.

Follow the monarchs’ perilous journey and experience millions of them in the remote mountain peaks of Mexico, with breathtaking cinematography from an award winning team including Oscar® winner Peter Parks.

Be captivated by the true and compelling story of an intrepid scientist’s 40-year search to find their secret hideaway. Unravel the mysteries and experience the Flight of the Butterflies.

Learn More! Visit the Live Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History and walk among nature’s flying canvases in a tropical oasis filled with hundreds of exotic live butterflies.


Wonderful new movie made through Disney by Louie Schwartzberg on pollinators that features Meryl Streep. This is not animation, it is exquisite real time lapse video of flowers, bees, hummingbirds. Monarch butterflies are featured too — simply amazing footage!

Read about it here.

Watch clips and teasers here.

WINGS OF LIFE presents the unsung heroes of the global food chain. You will witness, as never before, fantastic journeys that are full of wonder, drama and beauty. Theirs is a fragile ecosystem, essential for sustaining life on the planet. Now threatened by mankind, this is a chance to see their world as never before. Visually stunning and emotional, the story is told from the flower’s point of view. For the first time ever, you will witness a world hidden from the naked eye—and it will be an experience you will never forget.

Here’s an interview with the producer.


Join us for a free showing of Secret Pond!

Secret Pond: A Fairy Shrimp Documentary — Thursday, March 7, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Naturalist and filmmaker Brian La Fountain has been fascinated with fairy shrimp – tiny crustaceans that live in seasonal ponds – since he was a boy. With Sweet Briar’s naturalist-in-residence, Mike Hayslett, as his guide to the hidden places where they live, La Fountain finally discovered the elusive critters in the wild and captured them in incredible high-definition detail.

Created in part to raise awareness for the protection of the fairy shrimp’s vulnerable habitat, “Secret Pond” is a surprisingly poignant portrayal of the microcosmic world of these delicate creatures. Fairy Shrimp have been found in two locations in Loudoun so far – perhaps they live in a vernal pool near you!

Join us for this free showing on the big screen! Location: Woodgrove High School Auditorium, 36811 Allder School Road, Purcellville. Questions: Contact Beth Arsenault at

Here’s a teaser for the film – and yes – we have Fairy Shrimp – the stars of this show - in Loudoun!!


On Friday, October 12, at 7:00 p.m., the Goose Creek Association (GCA), the Land Trust of Virginia (LTV), the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT), and the Hill School Alumni Association will host a free screening of a new film called Green Fire, the first full-length, high definition documentary film ever made about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold. 

The film explores Aldo Leopold’s life in the early part of the twentieth century and the ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied all over the world today.

“Aldo Leopold has left an astounding legacy.  Thousands of organizations across the nation and hundreds here in Virginia, including the Goose Creek Association, the Land Trust of Virginia, and the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, are following his lead.  It’s interesting to see how Leopold repaired riparian buffers on his land like GCA is doing today with our Goose Creek Challenge Program,” said GCA Chair Lori Keenan.

“Our work is Leopold’s work,” said LTV Executive Director Don Owen.  “Land trusts have protected more than 16 million acres of land in the United States, including more than 30% of the farm and forest land in western Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties. These lands, and the water resources, wildlife, battlefields, and historic resources on them, are one of the most important gifts we can give to future generations.”

Green Fire illustrates Leopold’s continuing influence by exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level. Viewers will meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration, ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties and wildlife biologists across the nation who are bringing back threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, to the landscapes where they once thrived.

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time is a production of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the US Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature. The film shares highlights from Leopold’s life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation in the twentieth century and still inspires people today.  Although probably best known as the author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac, Leopold is also renowned for his work as an educator, philosopher, forester, ecologist, and wilderness advocate.

If you come:  October 12, 7:00 p.m., Middleburg, Virginia, at The Hill School at 130 South Madison Street in Middleburg, Virginia, 20117. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Download the flier here: Green Fire

For more information, contact Don Owen at (540) 687-8441, or Andrea Rosse at 540-687-3073,


GreenFlik: Truck Farm ― Wednesday, June 13, 7:30 p.m. at the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg.

Truck Farm tells the story of a new generation of quirky urban farmers.

Using green roof technology and heirloom seeds, filmmaker Ian Cheney plants a vegetable garden on the only land he’s got: his Granddad’s old pickup.

Once the mobile garden begins to sprout, viewers are trucked across New York to see the city’s funkiest urban farms, and to find out if America’s largest city can learn to feed itself.

Blending serious exposition with serious silliness, Truck Farm entreats viewers to ponder the future of urban farming, and to consider whether sustainability needs a dose of whimsy to be truly sustainable.

Amy King on Amazon wrote:

“This is a wonderful film. It makes you think about how easy it is to make a difference in your community and bring good produce to local tables. What I loved most about the film was its upbeat, whimsical approach to the subject through the musical accompaniment. Share this with your friends and family and I’d be surprised if it didn’t move you to plant some seeds in your uncle’s old pickup, or better yet, your backyard.”

Ticket sales will be donated to: Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Keep Loudoun Beautiful, Sustainable Loudoun, and the Friends of Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. Find out more about Greenflik and the event here.


GreenFlik: No Impact Man ―Wednesday, May 9, 6:30 p.m reception, Film starts 7:30 p.m. 

Join us at the Tally Ho Theatre for the film, No Impact Man.

Colin Beavan began the No Impact Project in November 2006. A newly self-proclaimed environmentalist who could no longer avoid pointing the finger at himself, Colin leaves behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year.

No more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two year-old daughter are dragged into the fray.Take a front row seat to the familial strains and strengthened bonds that result from Colins and Michelles struggle with this radical lifestyle change.

Ticket sales will be donated to: Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Keep Loudoun Beautiful, Sustainable Loudoun, and the Friends of Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. Find out more about Greenflik and the event here.


Here’s your chance again to see it:

Film:  Bag It: Is your life too plastic?  65 minutes

Date: April 20, 2012,   7:30pm

Place: St James UCC,  10 E Broad Way,  Lovettsville VA

Bag It has been garnering awards at film festivals across the nation. What started as a documentary about plastic bags evolved into a wholesale investigation into plastics and their effect on our waterways, oceans, and even our bodies. 

Watch the trailer at

This showing is an encore presentation for those who may have missed the screening in February in Leesburg at the Tally Ho.  

This FREE public showing in celebration of EarthDay 2012 is made possible by the support of St James United Church of Christ, Lovettsville.  

Doors open at 7:00.  For more information, please contact Holly and John Flannery at


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