“Flowing Forward”: Telling the Black Swamp Conservancy Story

Mud-thick boots, cold farmers, an adze chopping holes for tiny trees in a huge field. These are memorable images from “Flowing Forward,” a new film by Christy Frank and Alex Goetz of Running Wild Media that follows one recent restoration project of the Black Swamp Conservancy to tell the larger story of the history and mission of the Conservancy.

Frank and her team filmed a Conservancy project along Wolf Creek in Seneca County from the purchase of a farm field to final planting of a large reconstructed wetland habitat. Watching the finished 15-minute documentary, viewers will learn how managing water in one farm field has an impact on drinking water for thousands of people. Along the way, viewers will learn some history of the Black Swamp region, how and why local people created the Conservancy, and about the ethics and science that drive our operations.

Christy Frank found creating the documentary hard but rewarding. “It was challenging subject matter, in that having land itself as a character can be difficult to portray,” she said, but the film shows that character as one capable of change. It starts as a flat cornfield that, by the end, becomes a dynamic environment of wetlands, woodlands and meadow. Water flowing through the land is allowed time to on the site rest and leave behind nutrients and sediment that would otherwise reach Lake Erie and fuel harmful algal blooms.

Frank added, “I hope our film shows the value of what Black Swamp Conservancy is providing to the region and how, as we learn more, we have the ability to improve the way we interact with our environments.”

Frank and Goetz are local filmmakers with national and international experience. Their work has appeared in outlets including National Geographic WILD, BBC, PBS Nature, and CBS Sunday Morning. “Flowing Forward” was funded by a grant from Land Trust Alliance.

“We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Christy and Alex,” said Executive Director, Rob Krain. “They are phenomenally talented, conservation-focused filmmakers who call Toledo home. Their excitement to tell this local story and generous rate for doing so made it possible.”