A screening of a documentary on Ohio's scenic rivers will help Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed with a tree-planting project at six Columbus City Schools sites.
"The Call of the Scenic River: An Ohio Journey" will be shown from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, at Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse, 3055 Indianola Ave. in Clintonville.
The REI stores in northwest Columbus and at Easton are co-sponsors of the screening.
Proceeds from the suggested donation of $8 would go to FLOW.
"We would love if people would donate and come out," said Laura Fay, science committee chairwoman for the organization.
The screening commemorates the 50th anniversary of passage of Ohio's scenic-river law.
The documentary, according to the website of Rivers Unlimited, a statewide conservation organization, "is the story of Ohio's most natural waterways, told by those who appreciate their splendor and work to protect and preserve them for future generations."
"I think rivers are sort of often unseen and forgotten, whereas they're really a beautiful asset for people to enjoy," said Andrew Heckler, chairman of the board for FLOW.
Sections of the Ashtabula, Chagrin, Big and Little Darby, Kokosing, Little Miami, Mohican, Olentangy, Sandusky and Upper Cuyahoga rivers have received the scenic designation, according to the website of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The portion of the Olentangy that's a scenic river stretches from the Delaware Dam to Old Wilson Bridge Road in Worthington.
Money raised from the screening will help pay to plant trees at Gables Elementary School in northwest Columbus, Windsor STEM Academy in east Columbus, Hamilton Elementary School in the Linden area, Maize and Salem elementary schools in the Northland area and Hubbard Mastery School in the Short North, Fay said.
Scott Varner, executive director of strategic communications for Columbus City Schools, said those locations were designated for the tree project after FLOW officials approached the district shortly after Christmas.
"The six schools were among the first we were able to quickly identify a potential location and need for the trees," Varner wrote in an email. "This donation will allows us to provide students with that added space out of the sun."
"The trees are critical for a couple of reasons," Heckler said. "One, they help to reduce runoff. A lot of people don't get that the flashing of rivers -- rapid runoff from a storm event -- is very unhealthy for a river. The water should percolate through the soil. So trees help mitigate this issue by collecting water off the leaves and down to their roots.
"I always am amazed at how people assume trees will be there. You have to make an effort to plant them."
REI has partnered with FLOW since the central Ohio locations opened in 2014, said Abby Rhodebeck, community outreach coordinator for REI in Ohio. Since then, she said, REI has donated $15,000 to FLOW for projects.
"We advocate for public land and we promote increased protection of it," Rhodebeck said. "We've been encouraging public-policy initiatives to protect public land."
She said filmmaker Tom Mayor gave his permission for the screening at Studio 35.
"Ohio's a really cool place," Rhodebeck said. "We have a lot here and it's wonderful to be able to showcase that."
A panel discussion with representatives from FLOW, REI and ODNR will follow the screening, Fay said.