Local environmental leader featured in new Jane Goodall film


Julie Bertram

Special to the Tribune

People from all over the world who had a hand in making the latest film featuring Dr. Jane Goodall, gathered at Science North in Sudbury May 30 for the world premiere of the new IMAX documentary Jane Goodall: Reasons for Hope. Among them were Dr. Goodall herself, the world’s most iconic ecologist and primatologist, as well as Anthony Laforge, a Northern Secondary School alumni and now Indigenous Lands and Environmental Director at Wahnapitae First Nation.

Laforge appears in the film briefly in a scene with Goodall, cut to about ten seconds from what he recalls as “being in a swamp for three hours with Jane Goodall!” Since the film shows the results of Sudbury’s regreening efforts after extensive damage from decades of mining activity had wiped out life in area lakes and rivers, Laforge, Goodall and a group of youth were examining and releasing a variety of fish into the wild. “As you see all the buckets, there was a few brook trout, a perch, a walleye and a single crawfish that was released… We needed 14 buckets of fish to make sure we got a good take on the film… so many efforts to get the right shot as it was cloudy at times and we could only film when bright and sunny for the IMAX to get a good shot of them leaving the buckets and beginning their new life where they belong,” describes Laforge.

The documentary sends a message of hope that working together, humans can turn the tide and make the world safe and habitable for ourselves and the creatures our choices impact. That message strikes a chord for Laforge, who has made it his mission to apply traditional ecological knowledge and promote land stewardship as a way of living in harmony with nature – something he was taught from a young age. He says meeting Dr. Goodall “was an unbelievable feeling. In my 32 years as being an Indigenous Lands and Environment Director, this was the greatest day that made me realize my mother was a genius in wanting me to come back home and get involved with indigenous stewardship and Traditional Ecological Knowledge.”

During the evening celebration at the film premiere, Laforge was invited to speak,

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