SHELBURNE FALLS — When he was 10 years old, James Boehmer spent his savings on a camera he could use to take photos during a field trip to the aquarium.
From that grew a passion for using words and images to educate others on the natural world — inspiring the recent creation of EarthHub.TV, a Shelburne Falls-based nonprofit that functions as a “hub” for educational videos on the environment created by team members and the public.
“I had been doing (videos) with fish and wildlife … and working on more natural history wildlife, nature-type video work,” Boehmer said, referencing his business Arcansus Productions, a small in-house video production studio. “EarthHub is born out of, ‘How can it be so much bigger than me?’ The impact I can make is only so much, but … the creation of EarthHub means reaching out to so many more people, and involving so many more people and accomplishing so much more for environmental education.”
At EarthHub, in addition to the videos created by a revolving group of team members, the public is invited to create and submit videos about their local environment. So far, there are videos on the topics of animal habitats and water. Another topic, “relax with nature,” features longer videos of things such as ice streams, or a blooming apple tree and the sound of birds.
“We have a mission built into the nonprofit, which is not just to connect people through the sharing of information, but to show stuff and try to be positive and show things we can do to make change,” he said.
And although the nonprofit is based on Main Street in Shelburne Falls, Boehmer hopes it becomes a resource that connects people from all over the world.
“Our goal is not to just connect people with information … but to connect people who then feel motivated to do something — to think twice before planting some invasive species or think twice before buying some non-reusable products,” he said, “or how to recycle and be more proactive, so that it feels good.”
Currently, EarthHub is encouraging others to get involved in its first campaign: Trash. The initiative is meant to encourage people to clean up their local environments and raise awareness about ways to live more sustainably.
“There’s videos about recycling, (and) picking up trash,” Boehmer said. “If someone wants to make a video, they can look at the production template and they can submit a video.”
The production template, which can be found on the website, EarthHub.TV, provides general guidelines for filming.
“What I look forward to is videos from all over the world,” Boehmer said. “There’s similar problems everywhere.”
The problems aren’t the focus of EarthHub, he said, but rather, addressing the question of, “What can we do?”
“That’s a big part of EarthHub,” Boehmer said. “What can we do?”
Mary Byrne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne