Waubesa Wetlands: An Invitation to Wonder
The documentary should be completed by 2023.
I took on my biggest project yet when I began filming in Waubesa Wetlands, a relatively unknown natural area in southwest Wisconsin. My grandpa, Cal Dewitt, has lived on and studied the wetland for over 50 years, and the film will paint a portrait of his love for this beautiful wild place. In Wisconsin alone, nearly half of all wetlands have been destroyed. Through capturing the immense beauty, life, and mystery of this landscape, I hope the film can help people appreciate these areas that have been undervalued for too long.
Waubesa Wetlands, located only twenty minutes from the heart of Madison, Wisconsin, is the centerpiece of the film. Wetlands have a long history of being unappreciated and undervalued. Waubesa, however, is unique in that it's relatively untouched by humans. It is a thriving ecosystem, with an abundance of wildlife and clean water. The Wisconsin Wetlands Association lists Waubesa as one of Wisconsin's Wetland Gems® , and it is praised for being one of the healthiest and most diverse wetlands in southwest Wisconsin.
My grandpa, Calvin Dewitt, has been living with his wife Ruth on the edge of the marsh for almost fifty years. His passion for the wetland is interconnected with his work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is a field ecologist, wetland scientist, and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies in the Nelson Institute. For three decades, Cal has used Waubesa Wetlands as his teaching laboratory, where he has taught hundreds of graduate students first-hand in the wetland ecosystem. In the early 1970s, Cal feared that Waubesa would be developed and destroyed, so he worked tirelessly with his neighbors and the town of Dunn to establish Waubesa Wetlands into a 1000-acre protected nature preserve.
As a kid, I always looked forward to going to my grandparents' house. They loved taking me and my siblings out into the marsh, where we would fish for tiny insects in the creek, or get lost in the canoe, exploring the many meandering streams. These experiences as a child inspired my own love for the natural world, and are the reason I came back all these years later to make the film.
Augmentation | A futuristic shortfilm about technology and nature
Cal Dewitt has spent his life discovering what's in his backyard and falling deeply in love with what he's found. Whether it's a wetland, a local park, or our own backyard, we are surrounded by the hidden wonders of the natural world if only we took a closer look.
Proximity | A foggy night filmed entirely under the light of a full moon.
A Message from the past | Short documentary about the impact we're having on the planet.
"When a person opens themselves to learning from the natural world, what they discover is that the world is a teacher" - Cal Dewitt