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Local wildlife featured at Sparks Museum
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Sep 12, 2013 | 1231 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Spectators take in "Free as a Bird," a movie based on wildlife occurrences in local parks, Thursday evening at the Sparks Heritage Museum and Cultural Center as part of a movie series by the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Spectators take in "Free as a Bird," a movie based on wildlife occurrences in local parks, Thursday evening at the Sparks Heritage Museum and Cultural Center as part of a movie series by the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.
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If you think squawking geese at the local golf course pond are the only flapping wildlife the Truckee Meadows has to offer, you need to meet local filmmaker Carl Adams.

Adams’ film “Free as a Bird” highlights migratory and seasonal habits of birds living in regional parks, and he felt the best way to share his local footage was through a partnership with the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation (TMPF).

“I like to feel that I am doing something for the community and to give something back,” Adams said Thursday evening. “The fact that I am helping Nate (Daniel, TMPF Executive Director) is really my satisfaction. It is nice to have people see the film of course, and they clap and make you feel good, but I don’t have the same feeling about showing it at Reno Photo Club as I do about this. It is good for the area and the community.”

Free as a Bird held its second public viewing Thursday evening at the Sparks Heritage Museum and Cultural Center where Daniel said he was happy with the turnout of between 15 and 25 people.

“That is successful as far as I am concerned,” Daniel said regarding the non-profit organization formed in April. “Given the fact that it is all word of mouth, social media and the parks departments sending out reminders, I am happy with a turnout like that.”

The movie was shown in Reno last week and will hold its final showing at Bartley Ranch Regional Park in Reno Thursday, Sept. 19. Daniel said the movie is a chance for residents to see the birds occupying and preparing for migration in local parks, but it is also a chance for the community to meet and communicate with him and TMPF.

“Mostly people want to know more about what we are going to be doing and how they might be able to help,” Daniel said. “We tell them we will be finding private money through donations and grants in our state to do programming the parks departments can’t do anymore.

“People are also curious to know what the issues are. They know that every department was cut and they want to know specifically about parks. They want to know how they have maintained the quality given the budget cuts they have had. People don’t know how bad things have gotten for different parks departments.”

Tracy Domingues, Sparks Parks and Recreation Department Director, was in the front row for the film viewing and said that the partnership with TMPF needs room to grow but promises to be healthy.

“I think it is a win-win relationship and as it grows hopefully we can get some educational programs going for the kids in Sparks and help model it throughout the area,” Domingues said. “I think with their efforts we can educate the children to be stewards and help the next generation understand the importance of our parks and open spaces and maybe they can teach their peers the same responsibilities and carry it on for us.”

Domingues said programs like Parks and Recreation’s Adopt-a-Park Program and other non-profit organizations, such as Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, have goals concerning local parks. She said keeping those goals separate and distinguished is crucial to success in Sparks.

“We have about 60 parks in Sparks and people don’t realize how extensive our system is,” she said. “With that comes a lot of maintenance and we can’t do it all. We rely very heavily on volunteers and hopefully they (TMPF) can be a very effective outreach for us to get the word out.”

Daniel said as TMPF moves into the fall season it will continue to work on its flagship program, the Truckee Meadows Trails Challenge, and plan occasional informational public events. He said 2014 will be an important year for the new organization and preparation for that year is equally important.

From Adams’ point of view, the parks continue to bring an asset to the communities of Reno and Sparks that cannot be used enough. He said just when you think you have visited all the parks--or seen everything in them--something new will catch your eye, especially given the advancement of camera technology.

“Before I started this project I had some parks that were close to home like Idlewild and Wingfield and that was about it. Then, I met a bird photographer in the Reno Photo Club and all the sudden it dawned on me that there was this wonderful pageant of activity I had never realized before. So I started methodically going around to all of the parks.

“If you go to the parks around here, and you go regularly, you are always going to see something new. A lot of people go to the parks and they are jogging or talking or bicycling, and that is cool. That is what they are there for. But if you stop for just a minute it is a whole new aspect of the thing. The more you get into it the more possibilities you have and they keep increasing.”
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