As we come to know more about the natural things of the earth, an appreciation for the mystery and majesty of the Creation steadily evolves within. In this final installment of a series of feature articles outlining activities beginning May 11in Kanab that help us connect with and better appreciate the natural world, let’s start with a look at events involving science in management. This critical discipline offers the best hope for restoring and sustaining the public estate entrusted to our Nation’s land management agencies. Botany is big at the 8th Amazing Earthfest!

The Tamarisk Coalition’s Ben Bloodworth will offer two programs about the tiny but voracious beetle released into the Southwestern U.S. to control the invasive and thirsty Tamarisk tree that has choked nearly every riparian habitat in canyon country. In a hike out on the Monument, Mary O’Brien and David deRoulhac of the Grand Canyon Trust present an assessment of rangeland health focusing on biological soil crusts in GSENM called “Living Skin of the Monument.” And for plant lovers, Kate Watters from the Trust brings another scholarly botanical event to Amazing Earthfest entitled, “Rooted Residents: Plants of the Vermilion Cliffs N.M.” These three events are guaranteed to enlighten our understanding of ecology in the habitats we often take for granted.

In a stroke of good fortune, Amazing Earthfest has the honor this year to introduce to Kanab and Escalante, nationally-known botanist Dr. Roger Rosentreter.

Rosentreter will lead two all-day adventures in the classroom and in the field to help us gain an intimate knowledge of the microscopic plant communities that live in biological soil crusts of the intermountain region, and why they are critical to healthy landscapes in the arid West. Dr. Rosentreter will also offer an evening Q&A session to further extend our knowledge of these remarkable but little understood plant communities. This recognized expert is in high demand across the United States so be sure to sign up early as space in these workshops is limited!

Documentary films extend our scientific inquiry into the nature of things and kindle a probing intellectual curiosity about the world inside and around us, the world we live in; the only habitable planet we will ever know at an intimate level. Issues of great magnitude really are at heart, social phenoms.

The 8th Amazing Earthfest film series at Crescent Moon Theater brings four opportunities for interactive community conversation to explore beliefs and ideas with facilitators who can really get your creative juices flowing!

Watch Wilderness: The Last Stand, at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, to witness the extraordinary impacts timber harvesting practices once had in America’s National Forests. Then ask career Forester and Silvaculturist, Randall Walker, District Ranger, North Kaibab National Forest, for his perspective on how USFS harvest practices have changed since those tumultuous years.

Immediately after screening the award-winning documentary, Last Call on Sunday, May 11, 8:30 p.m., Jeffrey Louden, Director of Communications for Utah Interfaith Power & Light will convene an impromptu and freewheeling discussion to explore human responses to questions of sustainability. What are the “limits to exponential growth” in a modern industrial society, and where do we stand today? Moreover, can individual or even collective actions really make a difference?

On Tuesday, May 13, at 7 p.m., Professor of Comparative Literature at Brigham Young University, George B. Handley, PhD, will facilitate a community conversation to explore human responses to climate change following the award winning documentary, The Wisdom to Survive, which accepts the consensus of scientists that climate change has already arrived and asks, what is keeping us from action? The Utah Humanities Council has generously awarded a grant to help make these two scholarly discussions possible at Amazing Earthfest. Don’t miss these extraordinary opportunities to expand and enlighten public discourse on important topics!

The 18 fascinating documentary films being screened free at the 8th Amazing Earthfest is a mini-festival in itself! We urge community members and visitors, regardless of age, background or beliefs, to take full advantage of this plethora of stimulating learning opportunities. Attending these films will get you talking about your own experiences to friends and family for weeks to come!

If you’re yearning for a down-to-earth story, how about a heroic cowboy who took on the task of saving America’s wild mustangs? Be sure to catch Running Wild: the Life of Dayton O. Hyde for a heartwarming account of one man’s determined effort to make a difference for wild horses taken off of Nevada Public Lands. After the film, Producer Suzanne Mitchell will be on hand via Skype to converse with the audience about the making of this epic documentary.

For additional information about events and lodging, contact the Kane County Office of Tourism at 435-644-5033, visit www.AmazingEarthfest.org or call the festival office at 435-644-3735. A full list of event descriptions is posted online and a complete 20-page Schedule of Events has been published and is available at locations throughout Kanab and surrounding towns.