8th Annual Gila River Festival The Wild River Speaks!
Southwest’s Premier Nature Festival Scheduled for September 13 – 16, 2012
The 8th annual Gila River Festival – planned in and around Silver City, September 13-16, 2012 – will celebrate through storytelling the natural and cultural heritage of the Gila River, New Mexico’s last free-flowing river. One of the Southwest’s premier nature festivals, the Gila River Festival attracts an audience of nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts eager to learn about and experience the Gila’s natural wonders. Festival attendees will enjoy a variety of expert-guided field trips in the Gila National Forest and along the Gila River, a keynote talk by author Craig Childs, workshops, horseback riding, kayaking, visual and performing art exhibits and performances, a three-minute film fest, a downtown art walk and more.
“The Wild River Speaks!” is the theme of the 2012 Gila River Festival, and it’s all about stories. Stories connect us to place and community. They allow us to inhabit the natural world emotionally and to feel a visceral bond that moves us to protect that world. Stories are important, and they aren’t just for kids. They shape the way we live and think about the world. With environmental problems at an all-time high, it is past time to brainstorm innovations, develop solutions, and reinvent ourselves and our relationship to the world. In short, we need to create new stories.
At the 8th Annual Gila River Festival, we will tell classic stories of the Gila and generate new ones. Join our keynote speaker, master storyteller Craig Childs, author of The Secret Knowledge of Water, House of Rain, and The Animal Dialogues, as he weaves the magic of the Gila into whole cloth. Aspiring writers can sign up for a Craig Childs writing workshop.
Guggenheim Fellow photographer Michael Berman’s new book of photos and essays, Gila: Radical Visions, The Enduring Silence will be released during the Gila River Festival, and we’ll host an opening reception, photography exhibit and book signing for Michael at Silver City’s lovely Bear Mountain Lodge. As well, some of the writers from his book will tell their stories of the Gila throughout the festival.
Listen to stories of the Gila during “The Great Conversation,” a dialogue about personal connections to the Gila River among four individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives, yet intimately familiar with the river and its watershed, including Pat Toomay, former NFL lineman for the Dallas Cowboys and writer for High Country News, nature and science writer Sharman Apt Russell, The Wilderness Society NM state director and Silver City native, Michael Casaus, and Red Paint Pow Wow founder, Joe Saenz.
Carrying on festival tradition, we will offer guided hikes such as birding, geology, medicinal plants, archaeology, rock art and more. Again this year, we’ll host the ever-popular Gila River kayak trip, and the Gila River bus tour will be back by popular demand.
In conjunction with the 2012 International Symposium on Electronic Art, we’re partnering with Western New Mexico University Expressive Arts Department to bring you a live performance, The Singularity, about our evolving relationship to water and nature, and our love affair with our electronic gadgets. In addition, we will have an opening at WNMU’s McCray Gallery of Electro Gila: The Power of Water, a visual multi-media electronic art exhibit using new technologies and digital sound to explore the theme of shared rivers as vecinos, or neighbors.
Other new festival events include horseback riding in the Gila with Joe Saenz of WolfHorse Outfitters during which you’ll hear about the Apache philosophy of life as it relates to the Gila River, as well as a three-minute film fest that will showcase people’s stories of the Gila River. The video shorts will be shown at various locations downtown and at WNMU during the Festival.
Online registration is now available at: www.gilaconservation.org. For more information, contact the Gila Conservation Coalition at 575.538.8078 or email@example.com.