Pennsylvania Legacies #140: Trails on Film

Filmmakers Jesse Sampley and Matt Deneen chat with POWR’s Tali MacArthur about the upcoming Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour stop in Pennsylvania.

There’s a reason why PEC’s motto is “conservation through cooperation”: in the end, that’s the only way conservation ever happens. Partnership and collaboration are the model, not just for our work, but for successful efforts all over Pennsylvania and throughout Appalachia. One such effort, Kentucky’s Greenspace, Inc., is getting national recognition for its approach to community-based trail building, stewardship, and environmental education. Greenspace is the subject of a short film, “A Community Conservation Effort,”  that will be featured when the Wild and Scenic Film Festival tour arrives in Pennsylvania.

“You can’t do it alone – and there’s no need to. There’s so many people that are willing to help us.”

Founded in the early 70’s, Greenspace, Inc. focuses on preserving local streams and open spaces for their recreational, historical, educational and ecological value. Recognizing that one of the most effective ways to get people to care about nature is to have them experience it for themselves, Greenspace also provides trails for recreational use and the enjoyment of the entire community. Their focus on collaboration has helped put Elizabethtown, Kentucky on the map as the state’s first Urban Trail Town.

As a 100% volunteer-based organization, Greenspace frequently offers events and opportunities to engage residents, organizations, and businesses in their work.

“You can’t do it alone – and there’s no need to,” said Matt Deneen, Greenspace board member and Special Events Coordinator, Chairman of the Elizabethtown Trail Town Advisory Board, and Executive Producer of the film. “There’s so many people that are willing to help us and they have sustainable projects and programs within their businesses and organizations… Community partnerships are the key component to making conservation and preservation work.”

The new documentary, “A Community Conservation Effort,” tells the story of Greenspace, Inc.. The filmmaker, Jesse Sampley, first became involved with the organization after working with Matt Deneen on a project promoting Elizabethtown’s Urban Trail Town status. A long-time lover of the outdoors, Sampley hopes the film will inspire others to become more engaged with nature.

“The final outcome of the film started with that foundation of trying to help people and inspire people, that there’s a lot more out there than what’s inside of your home,” Sampley said.

This is the essence of Greenspace’s mission.

“It’s really trying to find a way to work locally on projects that will bring people into nature and will bring people into the trails. And it really gives them a sense of relevance, and when you make that connection and get more people out there, they realize those places are worthy of saving and are really integral parts of their community,” said Deneen.

PEC’s affiliate, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, is hosting the screening of “A Community Conservation Effort” and other short films on March 18. Learn more about the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour and purchase your tickets here.


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