A locally made documentary, focusing on a geological feature millions of years old, premieres this week in De Pere. Local 5’s Kris Schuller says it is called “The Great Ledge” which examines the significance of the Niagara Escarpment.
“Making a documentary is sometimes a meandering path, so when you find one thing you often uncover something else,” said Dan Larson, a documentarian.
For Larson, the last four years have been focused on the geological feature in his new film called “The Great Ledge.”
“I always wanted to learn more about it and I found a great way to do that is to make a film about something,” Larson said.
It’s a documentary that takes viewers across northeast Wisconsin to the Niagara Escarpment. It is a ridge of rock millions of years old – reaching from east-central Wisconsin all the way to Upstate New York. It actually runs 1,000 miles and about a quarter of the escarpment is in Wisconsin.
“We don’t have a lot of mountains ranges in Wisconsin and this is one of the main topographic features especially in northeast Wisconsin,” said Geologist John Luczaj, a professor at UW-Green Bay.
Luczaj is one of many experts in the film telling the story of the natural rock ledge – filled with caves, waterfalls and rocks slopes formed over time, carved through erosian by rivers and glaciers.
“People should know the aspects of the geology and biology that are relative to their region,” said Luczaj.
“A lot can happen in a million years and even more over several hundred million years,” Larson said.
“We have our own microclimate here, we have ancient cedar trees a thousand years old,” said Steve DeBaker.
DeBaker operates a winery on the escarpment. He is also a member of the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network – a group developing curriculum tied to the documentary which will soon be provided to area school districts.
“it won’t cost them anything, something they can use as a teaching tool and we hope to do some hands-on things too,” said DeBaker.
All to help raise awareness for this natural wonder in Wisconsin’s backyard – a journey that Dan Larson says he’s still on.
“I think I’ve just started it actually,” said Larson.
“The Great Ledge” premieres this Wednesday at 6:30 P.M. at the De Pere Cinema. Tickets for the event, a fundraiser for that school curriculum project, are $10.