Whether you’re an all-year adventurer, or just like to hike some easy trails when the weather’s at its best, this is the time of year to help ensure your backwoods experiences remain stellar. Hope Mountain Centre (HMC) is hosting its annual fundraiser, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF), at the Hope Cinema.
“Hope Mountain Centre is a non-profit … devoted to outdoor education and recreation,” explained Kelly Pearce, program director at HMC. “And fundraising supports our programs because we try to keep our programs free whenever we can, or try to keep the fees incredibly low, so people can enjoy planned, very safe experiences in the outdoors.”
This year’s VIMFF event will raise funds to keep HMC’s Grade 3 ecology program going. “The original funder had to reduce funding, so unfortunately, the program’s currently unfunded, but we continue to deliver it. We couldn’t bear to take away forest ecology from the kids. We hope to cover off the cost of reaching every Grade 3 kid across the District with this program.
“It’s full of really cool stuff,” continued Pearce. Starting in the classroom with a very elaborate model of the forest that can be zoomed in on the branches and needles of a tree, the kids are taught photosynthesis and the relationship between fungi and the soil. They’re then taken into a wooded area where they can interact with the real thing and possibly see wildlife.
“It really helps to provide a level of enrichment and expertise that you couldn’t expect a teacher to bring to a program like that,” said Pearce. “We drill down a little deeper into a topic and the teachers are very supportive and appreciative.
“And kids are such fabulous sponges full of excitement about learning about these creatures and the natural world.”
The VIMFF takes place on Thursday, Mar. 7 at 7 p.m.: tickets are $18, and can be purchased on HMC’s website, or in person at the Blue Moose Cafe.
“It’s a super successful event each year and we typically sell out the theatre,” said Pearce. “We will be showing films from all over the world that celebrate mountain culture in every aspect. We usually show about eight or nine different films during the course of the evening, and there will also be local (outdoor) retailers set up displaying their wares, and door prizes (to be won).”
To purchase your ticket to the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, please visit the Hope Mountain Centre’s website at HopeMountain.org. If you can’t make the event but still want to donate to helping educate kids about forest ecology, or help with the maintenance of Hope’s local trails, the website also accepts donations.
“We’ve got a ‘Donate Now’ button on the website that allows you to direct your funds to specific programming and conservation initiatives like our bear education program. We’ve got an amazing range of things going on.”