Forsberg, Stegen to lead 'Follow the Water' discussion at SNR

Reaching the summit of Grays Peak in Colorado | Photo courtesy Michael Forsberg
Reaching the summit of Grays Peak in Colorado | Photo courtesy Michael Forsberg

The School of Natural Resources is hosting Mike Forsberg and Pete Stegen for a documentary night featuring “Follow the Water” from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 31 at Hardin Hall Auditorium, 3310 Holdrege St. The event is free and open to the public, and parking will be provided in Hardin Hall parking lot.

The documentary film, based partially on the Platte River Timelapse Project and produced by NET Television, tells the story of the journey of one droplet of water through the Platte River Basin. Forsberg, a conservation photographer and an associate professor of practice at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Pete Stegen, a filmmaker, journeyed for 55 days through the watershed by bike, backpack and canoe gathering footage with their iPhones.

“When I heard that Mike Forsberg and Peter Stegen were following a mythical drop of water 1,300 miles through the Platte Basin Watershed, I knew it would make a great television story,” said Christine Lesiak, producer of the film. “Water is a complicated subject that doesn’t always translate to the screen. As Pete says in (the film): ‘You can chop this river up a million times and give us so many facts and figures. But to really set the hook, you've got to make it personal and you've got to make people care.’”

So the duo made it personal. Forsberg and Stegen immersed themselves in the Platte Basin Watershed — hiking, biking and canoeing from the Wind River Range in Wyoming to the place where the Platte flows into the Missouri, and along the way, they met with dedicated conservationists and filmed their stories, while exploring the watershed and building connections between people, the environment and the land itself.

“We were surprised how so many people we met along the way had their own personal story about water, or this river, and how it connected with their lives in intimate ways,” Forsberg said. “Also, how diverse and beautiful and complex our watershed is in what most people consider flyover country.”

A panel discussion will follow the viewing so the audience can explore the themes of the film with Forsberg and Stegen.

“We hope this film makes people think about how precious water is and where your water comes from, know that rivers are our lifelines, and realize watersheds are communities to which we all belong. With that comes a lot of responsibility,” Forsberg said.

Lesiak hopes people will get caught up in the story, appreciating one of Nebraska’s great natural resources as seen through the eyes of two conservationists, passionate about never taking the water for granted.

About the event
The documentary movie night is sponsored by the SNR Community Engagement Committee, with assistance from NET, who provided access to the film for a public showing.

Natural Resources, with content courtesy NET and Nebraska Today