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Swim for the River

Release Date: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Contact Information: 
Contact: Office of Communications Phone: (518) 474-1201

ALBANY – “Swim for the River,” a new documentary about the Hudson River and those working to protect it and its watershed, will be screened at the New York State Museum on Sunday, Nov. 12th as part of a regional tour in advance of its national debut on PBS next year.

Prior to the film’s official release on national public television and on WMHT locally in December, the environmental group Hudson Riverkeeper has teamed up with Moira Productions, the film’s producer, to organize screenings of the documentary in Hudson River towns and cities this fall. The tour, which includes screenings, special presentations, and audience discussions, provides an opportunity to support groups along the river that are dedicated to helping protect the environment.

At the Museum’s free screening at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Director Tom Weidlinger will discuss what he has learned about the river during the two years that he’s spent on this project, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

The film chronicles Christopher Swain’s 36-day swim of the 315-mile length of the Hudson River in the summer of 2004. Swain, of Colchester, Vt., braved whitewater, sewage, snapping turtles, hydroelectric dams, homeland security patrols, factory outfalls, and PCB contamination to become the first person to swim the entire length of the Hudson River from the Adirondack Mountains to New York City. Swain’s mission was to advocate for a cleaner river that is safe for drinking and swimming.

The project went far beyond the filming of the swim itself. In the film, Swain’s experience links together stories of the river, which begins in the Adirondack wilderness and ends in one of the nation’s densest population centers. Included are interviews with those who are fighting to protect the Hudson against a range of threats from industry, inept regulatory agencies, and public indifference.

In the film, the epic of the 19th century destruction and redemption of the Adirondacks complements the modern-day story of citizens fighting to block the building of a huge trash plant that would burn one quarter of New York City’s garbage. It shows Riverkeeper battling the Exxon Mobil

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Corporation to force it to clean up the largest oil spill in the United States and viewers receive an update on the three-decade old fight involving General Electric and PCB contamination of the Hudson.

The film also features folk singer Pete Seeger who talks about his efforts to draw attention to the river through his trips on the sloop Clearwater. It also focuses on ordinary citizens who are making a difference through choices they make that affect the environment.

Further information about the film project can be found at www.wmht.com.

The New York State Museum is a cultural program of the New York State Department of

Education. Founded in 1836, the Museum has the longest continuously operating state natural history

research and collection survey in the U.S. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

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