Jane Fonda to Narrate Films on California’s Environment

Academy-Award winner Jane Fonda has joined a California team of distinguished scientists, educators and media producers, including Humboldt State University specialists, to create inspirational stories about the state’s changing natural environment.

Fonda will narrate a series of five short films, produced at Humboldt State, and a two-hour PBS documentary expected to reach millions of television viewers and visitors at state and national parks throughout California.

The productions are part of the California Environmental Legacy Project, an educational initiative that combines artful storytelling and state-of-the-art digital media to raise awareness and understanding about the changing natural environment.

“These films are important and beautifully told stories about California’s natural heritage and how—if we work together—we can build a new and more sustainable partnership with nature,” says Fonda. “We’ve changed California’s natural environment in so many ways that it’s putting us at risk. We need to find a solution, a balance between nature and civilization. The Legacy Project is working to do just that.”

Adds Fonda, “I was inspired to narrate the Legacy Project’s films because of my deep connection to California and my profound concern for its future. It is incredibly important that we preserve our natural heritage for future generations.”

“Jane Fonda adds great depth to the creative and passionate team of individuals that are making these timely and truly innovative films,” says Jeffrey White, a Legacy Project executive producer and a professor and science education specialist at Humboldt State. “We are thrilled she is narrating these beautiful films.

“Jane’s nuanced and deeply moving voice brings extraordinary emotion and power to the story of California’s ever changing environment,” says Jim Baxter, a biology professor at Sacramento State and also an executive producer of the Legacy Project.

The short films produced by HSU explore environmental change at the bioregional level, including at Redwood State and National parks, Point Reyes National Seashore, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Los Angeles. The films will begin screening at park visitor centers this fall.

“Jane Fonda’s commitment to environmental change is beautifully and powerfully voiced in these films. Her talent and devotion inspires Californians from every walk of life to connect in new ways with these places and to make profound discoveries about the natural world. She is the real deal – a genuine national treasure,” said David Scheerer, the Director-Producer of the short films and a Professor of Film at Humboldt State University.

The PBS documentary “Becoming California” illuminates man’s relationship with California’s environment and explores how nature and civilization can better coexist. The documentary is scheduled for broadcast in spring 2014 on public television stations throughout California.

With original music by legendary musician Pat Metheny, these programs will be the first to tell the grand story of environmental change in California, from colliding tectonic plates to the community of life, human exploitation, coexistence and more.

Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Legacy Project also will provide online access to high quality videos, 3D animations, images, maps and more that tell the story of the state from its origins to the present day and beyond. Media resources for teachers and students are also being developed. Collaborators on the project include California State Parks, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Sacramento State and Humboldt State are the lead institutions.

In addition to her tremendous success as a stage and screen actress, Fonda has devoted much time to activism and social change—including environmental issues and the empowerment of women and girls.

Currently she appears as Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.” Fonda is now in production for director Shawn Levy’s “This is Where I Leave You,” which also stars Tina Fey and Jason Bateman.

Details about the California Environmental Legacy Project are posted at calegacy.org.