Professional climbers Majka Burhardt and Kate Rutherford are pulling together a cadre of scientists and filmmakers to help preserve the environment around a high mountain in Africa. Mount Namuli is the second highest summit in Mozambique. With a 2000-foot cliff face it’s a natural destination for these two adventuring women. But add to their mission the opportunity for ground breaking research and a spirited conservation initiative and you’ve got the makings of an incredible story. The Lost Mountain Film Project is a new documentary now under development by the team at Ukalene Productions.
“This is a level-one priority biodiversity conservation hotspot,” Majka said recently at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah. “What that means is an international group,the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund recently profiled the East Afomontane (a chain of mountains from Saudi Arabia all the way down to South Africa) and determined Mt Namuli as one of the key areas in this chain not being protected.”
Mount Namuli has no environmental protection status, no conservation status whatsoever. But the CEPF has identified this region as an area that demands further study and since Majka and her team were already involved there they were tapped to lead the charge and build awareness for the establishment of a protected ecosystem.
“It’s really sexy because you’ve got climbers, we’re discovering new species and we’re conducting all this scientific research and a conservation study at the same time. There have been scientific studies of the grasslands and rainforests on Namuli but there’s never been any collaboration between scientists and conservationists,” Majka said. “My whole goal is to bring these people together. At night we can get together at the campsite, share what we’ve learned and get it all on film for an incredible movie.”
As a country just out of its civil war history Mozambique is in an excellent position to build infrastructure for environmental conservation. Ironically a perpetual state of conflict prevented the local inhabitants from venturing into the mountain regions that were once surround by fields of land mines. This actually helped to protect a variety of different species for years. And now that the mines have been removed it’s possible to explore the different options available to maintain the integrity of the environment. While the nation’s economy begins to recover and grow programs like the Lost Mountain Film Project can help to unite the interests of industrial development and the protection of the natural landscape for the creation of a long-term sustainable system of integrated land use.
“Creating collaboration like this is is how you make things happen faster,” Majka said. “It can be uncomfortable getting people to work on the same team and work with different agendas, but ultimately what will come out of this after our month in Mozambique is a conservation plan.We’ll also have the media, this film, to tell the story of how important integrated conservation is.”
With a long track record of creating adventure-based conservation projects in Africa Majka Burhardt has excellent prospects for the successful production of this film. Working with Kate Rutherford as well as science and adventure writer Sarah Garlick, photographer Andy Bardon, music producer Jacob Bain and songwriter Cheryl Engelhardt Ukalene Productions is a solid investment. That’s why the Joy Trip Project is proud to back The Lost Mountain Film on Kickstarter.
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