IVCC will host free screening of ‘Shawnee Showdown’

Environmental activists will answer questions after screening

Students attend the first day of class at Illinois Valley Community College on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 in Oglesby.

A free screening of the documentary film “Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing,” by SIUC School of Arts and Media professor emeritus Cade Bursell, will be 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at the Dr. Mary Margaret Weeg Cultural Centre at Illinois Valley Community College.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by IVCC Chemistry Club and Biology Club, as well as Starved Rock Audubon Society.

Screened at the Environmental Film Festival at Yale and the Athens International Film and Video Festival, “Shawnee Showdown” retraces the battle over commercial logging within the Shawnee National Forest for more than three decades and raises concerns over climate change and present public land use.

Following the screening will be a question-and-answer with environmental activists who participated in the protests and who remain active to this day. There will be updates on current logging projects in the Shawnee National Forest and the proposal for a new Shawnee National Park and Climate Preserve.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a small, dedicated group of activists fought on the ground and in the courts to stop clear-cutting in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest. They won the support of their community and the struggle in court. Logging stopped in the Shawnee for nearly 20 years.

This is their story.

Using archival photos and video footage as well as contemporary interviews with the activists, Bursell has made a film that captures the passion and pain of those who stood up and fought against logging.

“Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing” portrays thestruggle to protect the forest through interviews, photographs and news footage. The film examines ways the past struggle can serve to inform the public and activists today in responding to current Forest Service management projects in the Shawnee Forest.

These activists are once gain asking tough questions about public land use. Should public land be degraded to generate commercial profit for the few? With the effects of climate change intensifying and the knowledge that mature forests sequester more carbon, why not keep the Shawnee National Forest and other Forest Service lands standing as regional carbon sinks? How can the forest remain a healthy habitat for all species? How do we keep the forest standing?

For more information or to view the film trailer visit https://www.shawneeforestdefense.org or email shawneeforestdefense@gmail.com