Above: Will Freund and Chip Freund at Olympic National Park in 2022 (left), and at the premiere of the Blue Glacier: Then and Now project on July 28th, 2023 (right).
EENC Congratulates Communications Board Chair Will Freund and his father and former Board Member Chip Freund on the release of their new documentary film and photography project, Blue Glacier: Then and Now. The project documents the effect of climate change on Olympic National Park’s Blue Glacier over the past four decades through the lenses of landscape photographer Chip and documentary filmmaker Will, resulting in a poignant visual call to climate action. EENC is lucky to boast a membership – and Board – for whom environmental education is intrinsically tied to conservation and advocacy, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this climate storytelling father-son duo.
The Blue Glacier: Then and Now film and photography exhibit premiered at the Cary Arts Center on July 28th, 2023, and is on display until the end of August. The film is being evaluated for a number of documentary film awards, and has recently been submitted for inclusion to the New York WILD Film Festival, the American Conservation Film Festival, the RiverRun International Film Festival, the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, and the Shredlandia Mountain Film Festival. Read the story of the Blue Glacier: Then and Now project below, originally published on the NC Science Trail blog.
Above: EENC Board Members past and present at the premiere of Blue Glacier: Then and Now. Left to right: 2023 President Amy Juliana, 2023 Communications Chair Will Freund, former Board Member Chip Freund, former Board Member Renee Strnad.
Blue Glacier: Then and Now
When you hear the word “glacier” what comes to mind? Probably something along the lines of a big chunk of snow and ice flowing down a mountain, and you’re not wrong. However, they are so much more than that. Glaciers are the spring of life for the valley below and one of our planet’s key indicators of a changing climate.
In 2022, father-son duo Chip and Will Freund set out to document how one specific glacier has changed in our lifetime for their project, Blue Glacier Then & Now. Chip is a professional landscape photographer based in Raleigh, North Carolina and Will is an environmental documentary filmmaker based in Greensboro, NC. This story starts in 1982 when Chip was just 18 years old, and he was spending his summer working for the Student Conservation Association doing backcountry trail work in Olympic National Park in Washington State.
During that summer, Chip took dozens of pictures of the environment he was working in, including the mighty Blue Glacier that feeds the park’s Hoh River. With all the talk around climate change these days, Chip set out to tell his climate story by heading back to Olympic National Park 40 years to the week of when he was there last to recreate the photos he took and show how the Blue Glacier had been affected by climate change in the intervening four decades.
“Despite the heartbreaking loss of ice the project documents, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude to the many supporters that helped bring the project to life. Gratitude for the opportunity to return to such a beautiful wild place, and gratitude to have shared a place so special to me with my family. By sharing personal climate change stories, like mine, I am hopeful that we can bridge the divide in our society and begin to work together to address the causes and impacts to our changing planet.” – Chip Freund, Landscape Photographer
As a filmmaker, Will is so excited to help tell this story, especially since it gives him the chance to work alongside his dad. Coming off the heels of his last film, Connected By Water, Will is truly passionate about sharing personal stories as a conduit to talk about climate change. Through these photos, film, and conversations, Chip and Will hope to shed some light on the fact that the Blue Glacier has lost over a third of its ice in the last 40 years. Chip’s photos are currently on exhibition at the Cary Arts Center in Cary, North Carolina through the end of August 2023. You can view the trailer for the film, Blue Glacier Then & Now on YouTube.