WSL short movie wins festival award

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Impressions from the movie.
Impressions from the movie.
Breathtaking views and a unique alpine tree population over a wide elevation gradient: This is the Lötschental, a steep-sided valley in the Swiss Alps. To the Dendrosciences group of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL this valley provides the perfect research spot for tree growth. Their documentary won the prize for the best short film at the Environmental Film and Screenplay Festival in Los Angeles.

The Lötschental has been a significant object to long term tree ring studies and publications by WSL researchers since 2007. The valley not only offers precious tree-ring material for different types of dendrochronological studies but has also been a place for instructing new generations of young researchers. The current projects include permanent monitoring plots where researchers take weekly tree growth measurements along an elevational gradient. The researchers enjoy valuable support from the local authorities and communities who provide them with free access to the territory.

Making their research visible to the local and broad public has always been a need and a desire of the team. So, when University of Zurich student and filmmaker ( ) Raul Pfammatter joined them for his civilian service, they asked him to create a short documentary video to inform and advertise about the research. Raul spent a few days scouring the valley, gathering impressions of the landscape and of the people working on the growth monitoring project.

Project leader Patrick Fonti and his team were delighted to see the result. He says: "The short film gives an insight into our work, at the same time showing the magnificence of the Lötschental". To promote it we submitted it to an international contest - and what a surprise, we won first prize in our category!"