Oxbow Meadows CD Wins International Film Award

A film produced by Columbus State University's Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper has earned the environmental and wildlife equivalent of an Oscar Award.

'Waters to the Sea: The Chattahoochee River' recently earned a Panda Award as the best interactive learning film, selected by the world's largest and most prestigious nature and wildlife film festival.

The production shared the honor with the British Broadcasting Corp.'s 'The Life of Mammals Web site' for best exploring the interactive potential of digital technology including Web sites, interactive television, DVD and special features.

The Panda Awards festival is held every two years in Bristol, England where this year's competition produced 20 winners from 400 films representing 35 different countries. Sponsored by Wildscreen, a nonprofit environmental group in England, the awards cover topics such as animal behavior, campaigning and earth sciences, and skills such as cinematography, editing, sound and script.

'It was a tremendous thrill to see the project come together the way it did,' said Oxbow Meadows Executive Director Becky Champion, executive producer of the project. 'We always believed it would be a fabulous learning tool but winning a Panda Award really crowns our efforts and gives those who are interested a great way to learn about the Chattahoochee.'

Produced in conjunction with the Center for Global Environmental Education at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., 'Waters to the Sea' is an interactive learning CD-ROM that explores the Chattahoochee and Appalachicola rivers from ancient times to the present.

'From the very beginning we were extremely excited about making 'Waters to the Sea,' said Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Sally Bethea. 'But, to have the very best in the world recognize the quality and the significance of our project by giving it a Panda Award is simply amazing.'

'Waters to the Sea' gives teachers a comprehensive watershed education tool that takes students aged 8 and older on a virtual journey down Georgia's greatest river. Key concepts in hydrology, ecology, and water quality monitoring are brought to life in the program introduction.

As students travel downstream from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, three historic guides provide perspectives on how humans have lived on the land from prehistoric times until today. Video, animation and interactive segments motivate students to take action to protect the rivers health and the integrity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

According to Wildscreen's Panda Awards Web site (www.wildscreenfestival.org), 'Waters to the Sea' provides 'locally relevant, media-rich watershed education experiences to students throughout the continental United States.'

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Contact: Becky Champion, (706) 687-4090; E-mail: champion_becky@ColumbusState.edu