The Chickahominy Report

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Safe Haven: The Delmarva Fox Squirrel and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Delmarva fox squirrel

BLACKWATER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Md. — A Delmarva fox squirrel poses on the root ball of a fallen tree.

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — Back in March 2012, I took part in the American University Center for Environmental Filmmaking’s Classroom in the Wild: Chesapeake Bay. Over the course of a week, we immersed ourselves in a crash course in documentary film. We learned the basics of getting good footage, researched potential topics, and went to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Over course of two-and-a-half days four groups of students shot all the footage we could get, then we went back to American to make short films out of the vast amount of digital footage we shot.

The group I was in decided to focus on refuge’s effort to save the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, a subspecies found only on the Delmarva Peninsula today. I finished a first draft of this film that week — with American University police officers wanting to kick me out of the video lab late my final night there. (Understandably, as no official AU folks were around.)

I finally managed to revised the film in preparation for a Classroom in the Wild film showcase on Nov. 6, 2012 (election night), and tweaked it a bit more the day after. Below is the result:

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