PANAMA CITY BEACH — Start your new year off by expanding your horizons.
The Bay County Audubon Society will present its 44th annual Travel and Adventure Film Series beginning Thursday at Arnold High School. The movies are presented by their cinematographers, who appear on stage and personally narrate the films, as well as participate in discussions with the audience. Door prizes will be awarded at each showing.
Tickets are available at the door; cost is $6 per film or $20 for a “season pass.” Admission is free for students age 18 and younger. Each film is shown starting at 7 p.m. (see dates below).
“The proceeds from ticket sales are used for our many and varied activities including education programs in our Bay County public schools, to promote wildlife protection and rehabilitation, conservation education and land preservation,” said Richard Ingram, publicity chairman for the Society.
The films include:
“In the Footsteps of Marco Polo” (Jan. 10): Chronicles the experience of two ordinary guys, Dennis Belliveau and Francis O’Donnell, who set out to follow Polo’s historic route. Equal parts travelogue, adventure story, history trek and buddy movie, this film details their highs and lows as they retrace Polo’s path, trying to see what he saw and feel what he must have felt.
“We made a pact,” O’Donnell said, “that, under any conditions, no matter what, we were only coming back to the United States two ways — dead or successful.”
The pair cross survive a deadly firefight and befriend a warlord in Afghanistan; cross the Taklamakan Desert in a Silk Road camel caravan; endure interrogations from authorities; live among the expert horsemen of Mongolia and the tattooed tribes of Indonesia.
“America’s Natural Wonders” (Jan. 17): This film by Bob DeLoss cross the country from Hawaii to Maine, exploring the natural wonders of America that fascinate nature lovers from young to old. DeLoss captures many of the more popular tourist attractions as he travels, highlighting nature’s extravaganza.
See the flowing lava of Hawaii’s volcanoes; walk a dried ocean bed in Death Valley; fly through Canyonlands National Park in Utah; follow the migration of Sandhill Cranes; view the bison, big horn sheep, bears and birds of Yellowstone; spend springtime in the Great Smokey Mountains.
“Barbados: Island in the Sun” (Jan. 31): Filmmaker Steve Gonser presents Barbados as a sophisticated tropical island with a rich history and plenty to capture the attention of visitors. This film looks into the history, culture, attractions and majestic landscapes of the island.
“Seemingly endless white sand beaches and a rich West Indian tradition are what put Barbados on the map,” Gosner said in materials about the film. “The people here reflect the island’s atmosphere. They are deeply religious, open, generous, friendly and thoughtful.”
Born and raised in Indiana, Gonser has produced award-winning commercial multi-media shows, as well as feature-length multi-media and film travelogues, according to online sources.
“The Real World of Fiji” (Feb. 14): Rick Howard visits these islands that once were home to ferocious cannibals and are now considered to be the friendliest in the Pacific.
“This is a country with a violent and colorful history,” said Howard, who first visited Fiji 20 years ago as a member of the first American scuba diving group ever invited to the island of Waya.
ABOUT BAY AUDUBON
Founded in 1962, the Bay County Audubon Society has been operating as a non-profit since 1975. Members have been involved in activities ranging from assessment of local bird populations to taking action on local conservation and environmental issues.
“We are involved in all areas of environmental concern and conservation efforts,” Ingram said. “We try very hard to be in on the planning aspects rather than spend our time objecting to the way things are done.”
Some of the more than 500 members actively work with the county planning board, Northwest Florida Water Management District, Bay Environmental Study Team and other regulatory and community boards. Membership meetings are on the second Monday of each month at the Panama City Garden Club.
“We have a good variety of programs, and visitors are always welcome,” Ingram said.
Field trips are planned for the Saturday’s following the monthly meetings. For details on planned events and activities, visit BayCountyAudubon.org or call 871-1736.
TRAVEL & ADVENTURE FILM SERIES
- Where: Arnold High School Fine Arts Center, 550 Alf Coldman Road, Panama City Beach
- When: All shows at 7 p.m.; Jan. 10: “In the Footsteps of Marco Polo”; Jan. 17: “America’s Natural Wonders”; Jan. 31: Barbados: Island in the Sun”; Feb. 14: “The Real World of Fiji”
- Details: BayCountyAudubon.org or call 871-1736