Local Groups Will Host Film and Q&A About
Industrial Siting on
Tuesday, August 7th at 7PM at
the Glen Theater in Watkins Glen

Finger Lakes Bioneers, Gas Free Seneca and  The Finger Lakes Sierra Club Group are co-sponsoring an event to foster learning and communication within the region regarding the challenges of development that has an industrial focus. The 90-minute film entitled "My Name is Allegany County" will be screened followed by a discussion afterwards with one of the principal figures involved with the recorded events. Admission is $5.00. Some refreshments will be available. This film explores democratic decision-making, environmental policy, legal rights, corporate responsibility, and the challenges of using highly industrial technology in rural locations. The Glen Theater is located at 112 North Franklin Street right in downtown Watkins Glen 
The independently produced film is a documentary narrative illustrating the early 1990's struggles and strategies of a wide array of citizens of western NY's Allegany County who achieved success at the state level and at the US Supreme Court to prevent nuclear waste from being sited in their communities. Grandparents, merchants, teachers, homemakers, professionals, farmers, and blue collar workers connected over their caring for their rural places and succeeded against significant odds. Richard "Spike" Jones, longtime Allegany County resident and a key member of the 1989-1993 opposition to the State of New York's ambitions, will be at the screening to discuss the events. He has travelled extensively in the US over the last twenty years to discuss his views and activism.

Residents, community leaders and decision-makers throughout the region are invited to attend.

“Our region faces economic and environmental challenges. The area is being considered for hydrofracking, gas storage and transport, and frack-related industry.   We need to be informed, to learn together, and to work together to formulate a vision for the future of the region,” said Yvonne Taylor, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca.   “Our goal is to provide an opportunity for the community to engage in a respectful, open dialogue about the various ways in which citizens can work together to protect their community, their health and their future.”






Special Screening of New Documentary Film and Discussion


Finger Lakes Bioneers presents:

YERT - (Your Environmental Road Trip)


Event location in Ithaca: Greenstar's "Space" venue-- access via northside of 700 W. Buffalo Str. Just west of N. Fulton Str. at the intersection with W. Court Str. parking is available -- right there across from Finger Lakes Fabricating. Free Admission- donations welcome.


The 70 minute film will be introduced by two of its producers, Ben Evans and Julie Dingman Evans. This project has been underway for five years and is based around a 50-state research tour into the environmental challenges and potential solutions that citizens and activists are engaged with across the country; the documentary offers a combination of serious and humorous insights. In the discussion afterwards we will explore:

- the changing roles of citizens and innovators- 

- balancing denial, dangers, doom with potential for the positive;

- strategies for communicating across various media 


Ben Evans graduated from Stanford University in 1994 with a BS in Science, Technology, and Society. After working as an actor for a decade in LA and NYC, Ben found himself looking for a way to marry his creative urges with his abiding passion for the environment and a growing concern about the future. Looking for adventure and a sense of greater purpose, Ben launched YERT in 2006 with his college buddy, Mark Dixon, and convinced his exceedingly understanding wife, Julie, to join him on the adventure of a lifetime. This is his first feature film.


Since earning a BFA in Dance from Western KY and an MFA in Acting from the U. of Louisville, Julie Dingman Evans has toured shows professionally across the United States and Europe. She will be acting in two theatrical productions in Auburn NY this June and July. Her major role in "Kiss Me Kate" just concluded at the Merry Go Round Playhouse- where she has appeared over numerous summers.




Local Groups Will Host Film and Discussion on Responsible Planning at Glen Theater on Tuesday, May 1st at 7PM


Community leaders and residents are invited to a special event screening and Watkins Glen premiere of Living Downstream, a documentary film based on the acclaimed book by Trumansburg author, ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.  She has taught biology at Columbia College in Chicago, held visiting fellowships at the University of Illinois, Radcliffe/Harvard, and Northeastern University, and served on President Clinton’s National Action Plan on Breast Cancer. Dr. Steingraber is currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ithaca College in Ithaca. At the May 1st event she will be giving a talk and be available for book signing. 

With Schuyler County and surrounding towns reviewing their comprehensive plans, many local citizen groups are asking community decision-makers and citizens to be mindful of the impact heavy industry will have on the Finger Lakes region.  The Finger Lakes Sierra Club Group and Gas Free Seneca are co-sponsoring an event with Finger Lakes Bioneers to foster learning and communication within the region regarding heavy industry and what it means to be "Living Downstream."

The film is being shown as part of a regional film series organized by Finger Lakes Bioneers, a program of Sustainable Tompkins.  "We've been partnering with local groups since last fall," said Nick Vaczek, the series coordinator, "and we've found that people really enjoy watching films on challenging issues and innovative solutions, especially when that's followed by a chance to discuss how that connects to hometown endeavors."  More details about the film series are at

Dr. Steingraber has a strong bond with Watkins Glen. Her son, Elijah, was born in Seneca Lake water.  Steingraber will attend the screening and make a short presentation, answer questions, and do a book signing.  Community leaders and decision-makers throughout the region have been personally invited to attend.




APRIL 28th SPECIAL EVENT!! Finger Lakes Bioneers Presents A New Film That Explores a Different Way of Seeing and Knowing


(title of event): “An Ecology of Mind- A Film and Conversation"


SATURDAY APRIL 28th, 1-4PM:  Finger Lakes Bioneers and Sustainable Tompkins are very pleased to host a visit to Cinemapolis of the international tour by director Nora Bateson who will introduce her new documentary An Ecology of Mind.  The 60-minute film presents a richly engaging portrait of the very relevant and compassionate insights of her father Gregory Bateson (1904-1980). He was and is recognized as an influential figure in a number of arenas of thought especially family therapy, anthropology, early cybernetics and environmental philosophy. Nora walks the viewer through a landscape of ideas her father (the son of one of the founders of genetics) explored and together we better appreciate "the pattern that connects." The film offers a "tender and poetic portrayal…of one of the most provocative thinkers of the last century but also a vivid relationship between a daughter and father."  


Humanity faces highly complex and interwoven problems. Crises and conundrums. Science and art -- our search for pattern-- help us find solutions yet our understanding of relationships is lacking. We are all interconnected and speedily we advance, we hope, in the direction of well-being for all. BUT we are all on a learning curve here and now-- co-educators struggling to cope and seeking still to inspire. Gregory Bateson's ideas and Nora Bateson's film can help to cut through the din and assist in the quest to design for the "pattern that connects."  In An Ecology of Mind  we discover a resonant voice and renewed insights for advancing human wisdom and ethics as well as for guiding technology.

The afternoon event begins at 1PM (doors open at 12:30) and will include Nora and other panel members in a stimulating exploration of themes related to education, systems thinking, biomimicry, indigenous wisdom, and the interwoven economic, political, and environmental problems we face.  Panelists include Derek Cabrera of ThinkWorks and Dana Levy of NYSERDA’s Industrial Research.
This event is made possible by the generous support of these organizations: NYSERDA, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and Sustainability at Ithaca College. With thanks for the important contributions of La Tourelle Resort and Spa and the Cornell University Department of Anthropology and the Anthropology Graduate Student Association. Appreciation for its collaborative outreach is extended to Cornell University's Mann Library ongoing programming for  "Connected Minds, Resilient Communities." The film is being shown as part of a regional film series organized by Finger Lakes Bioneers, a program of Sustainable Tompkins.  More details about the film series are at

Location of event: Cinemapolis,  120 East Green St. in downtown Ithaca

Tickets at door: students and under 21 - $3.00,  adults - $7.00 includes refreshments.  

For More Information: Nick Vaczek, tel. 607-227-7222 or





Saturday, April 28th -- Finger Lakes Bioneers Presents “An Ecology of Mind


As part of our ongoing regional film series, we are proud to announce a special program on Saturday, April 28 to be held at Ithaca's Cinemapolis venue as part of the international tour by director Nora Bateson who will introduce her new documentary An Ecology of Mind.  The 60-minute film presents a richly engaging profile of the very relevant ideas and spirited outlook of her father Gregory Bateson - an influential figure in a number of arenas of thought and applied research related to systems thinking.


His approach to "the patterns that connect" has been a persistent inspiration to a range of important leaders and scholars especially those working to better the balance of humanity's presence within its natural contexts. As his other daughter Mary Catherine Bateson states in the film: "Gregory Bateson asked the question- What is there about our way of perceiving that makes us not see the delicate interdependencies in an ecological system that give it its integrity? We don't see them -- and therefore we break them."  


The afternoon event will include Nora and other panel members in a stimulating exploration of themes related to systems thinking, biomimicry, indigenous wisdom, and the interwoven economic, political, and environmental problems we face.  Panelists include Derek Cabrera of ThinkWorks and Dana Levy of NYSERDA’s Industrial Research Program.


We extend our appreciation to NYSERDA,  Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and -Sustainability at Ithaca College- for partial support of the programming. Tickets at the door.


More detail will be announced and posted  in days to come.


We look forward to seeing you there!!




We   are   'on the   road'   with   Empowered in April


Additional info at:






4/16/12, Corning, NY: Screening and Q&A at Corning Community College
Co-presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers
Monday, April 16, 2012, With Film participant  and certified home inspector Anne Koreman


4/17/12, Auburn, NY: Screening and Panel Discussion at the Auburn Public Theater

Presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012, 7PM, Details in Auburn section of website, to left



4/18/12, Rochester, NY: Screening and Panel Discussion as part of

LOCALIZATION-A Winter Movie Series on Economy, Food and Energy
Co-presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers and Rochester's Center for Sustainable Living
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012, 7PM
Brighton Town Hall, 2300 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY
With Producer Suzanne McMannis.




previous in April:

4/1/12, Ithaca, NY: Screening and Q&A at the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Co-presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers
Sunday, April 1st, 2012, Noon
Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green Street, Ithaca, NY
“FLEFF at Ithaca College embraces and interrogates sustainability across all of its forms: economic, social, ecological, political, cultural, technological, and aesthetic. The festival is in the spirit of UNESCO’s initiative on sustainable development.”

4/4/12, Ithaca, NY: Screening and Panel Discussion at Cornell University
Co-presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers, KyotoNOW!, Cornell Wind Power, and Engineers for a Sustainable World Cornell
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012, 5:30pm
Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Free parking is available after 5pm in select lots near Mann, including Peterson Lot and Tower Rd.
Cornell alums Director Shira Evergreen and Dominic Frongillo from the Town of Caroline (featured in the film) as well as Art Weaver of Renovus Energy will participate in the post-film discussion. Hosted by Mann Library as part of its Sustainability Month and Resilient Communities outreach programming.





Tuesday, Feb. 28th: Cortland Screening of "EMPOWERED: Power from the People"
-- Sustainable Cortland and Finger Lakes Bioneers will be co-hosting the Cortland 'premiere' of the new documentary film "EMPOWERED: Power from the People," on Tuesday, February 28 at 6:30pm at SUNY Cortland's Beard Building located at 9 Main Street right in downtown Cortland. Admission is free.
-- Although Tompkins County is one of the cloudiest, least windy places in the country, its residents are proving that we can meet our energy needs through renewable resources, from solar and wind to veggie oil and geothermal.
-- The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Shira Evergreen, the film’s director; representatives of Green Sun Solar of Solon; the Corset Building in Cortland (heated with veggie oil); and county residents employing renewable energy.  All are welcome to attend to learn more about developing the potential for advances in Cortland County. Please join us for this informative discussion. 

TONIGHT--- February 22nd:


Today the Finger Lakes Bioneers 'traveling Chautauqua' moves to the Rochester area for the first public program in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Living and nine other regional organizations.

7PM tonight at the Brighton Town Hall the 2011 documentary "The Economics of Happiness" with a stellar local citizen panel starts off the series of film/discussion programming on "Localization- Economics, Food and Energy." The programs will continue on Feb. 29, March 21 and April 18.
We send a shout-out of appreciation and thanks to Alison Clarke of the Center for her inspirational stewardship of these events and to all involved in the organizational teamwork! 
This evening's panel is composed of: Elizabeth Henderson, Organic Farmer and Author; John Garlock, Labor Historian and Activist; Marty Dodge, Teacher of Conservation and Sustainability; with Alison Clarke of the Center moderating.


More details are available at the website for The Center for Sustainable Living:





With thanks to the evening's host, Kendal at Ithaca, Finger Lakes Bioneers will sponsor a special free screening of the locally made film Empowered  on Monday, February 20th, at 7PM in the Kendal Auditorium.


The film's director, Shira Evergreen, producer Suzanne McMannis and Shawn Reeves of Energy  will be present to share their insights with Kendal residents and with teachers who are also invited to attend as part of the "Ithaca Loves Teachers" week of programming. 


A 2011 production directed and produced here in Tompkins County, the film explores how residents of the county are engaged in different applications and uses of innovative technologies and techniques that conserve, reduce and also provide energy to the shared larger grid. The subtitle of the film is "power from the people" since the provisioning of energy from locally sourced and decentralized 'nodes' is increasingly becoming feasible. 


We would like to invite teachers to add their perspectives about sustainability as an aspect of their own work and curricula. This event will be listed in the materials which the teachers will receive from the Chamber of Commerce. The public is welcome to attend but capacity of venue is limited.


website for Kendal at Ithaca:

directions to Kendal: 



Coming soon are film screenings in Cortland, Watkins Glen, Corning, and Rochester for our Winter 2012 series.

Thanks to Shira Golding Evergreen and Suzanne McMannis for our highly successful partnership in screening their new film "Empowered" at Cinemapolis.  A large and appreciative audience enjoyed both the film and the panel of women practitioners.  It was great to see folks lingering in the lobby afterwards, making connections and commitments to living more sustainably.  Despite the wintry weather, we were glad to see some of our other partners from Cortland and Cayuga Counties joining us.

Wednesday, Dec. 7th - Empowered - Encore community screening in Ithaca of local film on clean energy.

"Empowered: Power from the People"

Wednesday, December 7, 7-9pm
Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St., Ithaca, NY
Tickets are $10, $8 for Sustainable Tompkins and IGBA members

Tompkins County, NY is one of the cloudiest, least windy places in the country, and yet its residents are proving that we can meet our energy needs through totally renewable resources. From solar and wind to veggie oil and geothermal, "Empowered" tells the story of one community's role in the energy independence revolution.

Join us for an encore Ithaca screening featuring tabling by local sustainability groups and renewable energy installers. Since our community sneak peek screening at the end of September, we have refined the film and added lots of animations so even you've seen it, there's lot's of new stuff to check out!

The screening will be followed by a special "Women Power" panel discussion including director Shira Golding Evergreen and some of the local innovators featured in the film - Gay Nicholson of Sustainable Tompkins, McKenzie Jones Rounds of Ithaca Biodiesel, Gwendolyn Barr of Weaver Wind Energy, Annie Koreman of Sierra Club Finger Lakes Group, and Lexie Hain of Enfield Energy and Snug Planet!

This event is co-presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers, Ithaca Green Building Alliance, Sierra Club Finger Lakes Group and Sustainable Tompkins.

The screening kicks off a NY state tour co-sponsored by Finger Lakes Bioneers and Sierra Club Finger Lakes Group.

"Empowered" is an independent feature-length documentary directed by Shira Golding Evergreen and produced by Suzanne McMannis.

Learn more and empower yourself at:



Tuesday, Dec. 6th - The Greenhorns  -- Documentary film's local premiere at the Glen Theater, Watkins Glen.

60-min. documentary film takes an inspiring journey across the US to explore new food and farming enterprises, rural and urban possibilities and diverse producer and consumer initiatives. A panel discussion and community conversation is part of the evening event: How can Schuyler County and the Seneca Lake area continue to nurture and support the current and emerging potential for on-farm and food related businesses? The public is heartily invited. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7PM screening. Refreshments will be available. Presented by Finger Lakes Bioneers with Cornell Small Farms Program and the Glen Theater. Contact: Nick Vaczek, film series coordinator, at 607-793-7566 or


Community conversation and film to explore "the economics of happiness" in Elmira and Chemung County

Nov. 9:   The Finger Lakes Bioneers, the Park Church and Pax Christi Upstate New York present the Elmira premiere of the new film: The Economics of Happiness. The 70-minute film will be followed by a discussion and panel of local business owners.

The 7PM screening is preceded by a potluck dinner meal at 6PM. Public is invited to the free program and donations are accepted. Event takes place in Beecher Hall of The Park Church at 208 Gray St. entrance. See website ( for directions.  The event will offer audience members the opportunity to participate and contribute their ideas about enhancing their community's strengths and equitable well-being. More info at: Finger Lakes Bioneers event schedule in the left column.



Great article in Saturday's Cortland Standard about the Freedom bus visit to Cortland High School on October 7 by alum Boise Thomas.


The Finger Lakes Bioneers, in association with Sustainable Cortland and SUNY Cortland, present the Cortland premiere of FREEDOM, a 90-minute documentary film by Josh and Rebecca Tickell. The film explores an array of greener fuel solutions and technological alternatives to address the dilemmas of our fossil fuel-dependent society.


The national tour of the "Freedom" eco-bus, visiting around 50 cities, is stewarded by Boise Thomas, a young Cortland native who went west and has developed and hosted programming for Discovery Communications' channel Planet Green and for the G Living lifestyle network. He will participate in the audience Q&A after the film along with representatives from Sustainable Tompkins and Sustainable Cortland. Other local groups advancing the community conversation about our ecological 'footprint' will be tabling.

The 90-minute film will screen at 7:30 PM Monday, October 10th. Public is invited and admission and parking is free. Location for both events is the Corey Union on the campus of SUNY Cortland. From 6-7:30 the traveling bus, which doubles as a clean-energy laboratory and a “green” mobile entertainment system, will be open for tours in front of Corey Union.  See Cortland schedule for more details.


Our first gathering for the 2011 Finger Lakes Bioneers film series will be September 29 and 30 at the Auburn Public Theater.  We’ll be screening the Auburn premiere of The Economics of Happiness – a film by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick and John Page, and a project of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).

Relocalization of our economy is essential if we are to buffer ourselves from speculative bubbles and escalating food and energy prices.  How can we transform our personal household economies to build in long-term resiliency and well being? How can we work together to design a local economy that works for everyone and takes advantage of the power of entrepreneurship, sharing, self-provisioning, and local investment? What principles should guide us?

We’ll explore these questions and more with a panel of local community leaders  and suggest opportunities to pursue in the next few years.  Audience members are encouraged to bring their ideas and to share news on other local initiatives.  Tickets are offered at the door.

Finger Lakes Bioneers is going on the road this year!

Our 2011-2012 program is focused on stimulating useful conversations across our region about our shared future.  We are partnering with active citizens and innovating venues in Auburn, Cortland, the Elmira-Corning area, and Watkins Glen to host insightful film events followed by audiences sharing reactions and outlooks.  This traveling Chautauqua approach is designed to advance awareness about the bioneers vision during an evening program that explores our options for local and regional equity, resilience, and renewal.

You are invited to attend one or more of our programs and to be a participant in these community conversations. Your insights into the challenging perturbations in (and available solutions for) our social, economic, and ecological support systems will be most welcome.
If you are interested in participating or assisting at any of our venues, please get in touch with us at info(at)wemakeourfuture(dot)org.


Special thanks to the Park Foundation for bringing Bioneers to the Finger Lakes Region, and for their longstanding support for so many bioneers in our community and across the nation.  They are truly shifting the paradigm in our country!


Our gathering in the Finger Lakes is part of a national movement of Bioneers working to create a more sustainable world.  Learn more about the national conference at: 


For more information about the Finger Lakes Bioneers, email:





Omar Freilla speaks about the human economy at We Make Our Future 2009



Dorothy Cotton address at Finger Lakes Bioneers 2008.  Watch the whole speech at


Dorothy Cotton, speaking at the Finger Lakes Bioneers conference on October 18, 2009, shared stories and lessons learned from the civil rights movement that might guide the global sustainability and social justice movement. Cotton was director of the citizenship education program of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for twelve years.  Watch her complete speech on youtube.


logo 2 4/28


logo1 / 4/28


Genesee Valley - Finger Lakes Region Center for Sustainable Living

Kendal LOGO

SUNY Cortland


Sustainable Cortland


The Glen Theater - Watkins Glen NY


The NE Beginning Farmer Project


If you would like to be a collaborator, partner, or sponsor please contact

Nick Vaczek at

(607) 227-7222 or