Nanna brings award-winning environmental film to Mandurah

"I honour the wisdom of the Indigenous caretakers who teach us 'If you look after Country, Country will look after us', says Merrilee Baker, a Mandjoogordap Nanna for Native Forests.

"It is critical that we heed this advice in these times of the 6th mass extinction and climate chaos," Merrilee said.

Nannas for Native Forests are a group of 'Nannas' from Perth to the South West who have joined with Binjareb people in raising awareness of the need to care for country, especially the forests and waterways.

After personally witnessing the destruction with massive machines in the Helm Forest, and seeing the larger story presented by the film Cry of the Forests: A Western Australian Story, Merrilee wanted to bring the film to Mandurah.

"There are many concerned groups here actively working to preserve birds, dolphins, the estuary and so much more that we love," Merrilee said.

"But even some people in these groups are not aware of the extent the clearing is happening now. The Cry of the Forests will raise awareness and gives us hope we can stop deforestation of our native forests.

"Connecting and offering each other support is a part of wellness for us, our unique animals and the trees.

"We remember we are doing this for generations to come. Our grandchildren and their grandchildren will know we have done what we can.

"The forests provide habitat for Western Australia's unique wildlife, of which many have become endangered or extinct. Locally, we have less than 100 Western Ringtail possums.

"Many people in Mandurah might never have seen marsupials like numbats, which are also disappearing, but for our grandchildren and generations to come they will only exist in museums, a memory like the dinosaurs.

"Many of us feel great despair, eco-depression and solastalgia seeing the places where we connect with nature destroyed," she said.

In bringing the award-winning film by Fremantle-based producer Jane Hammond to Mandurah, Merrilee hoped to raise more awareness around clear-fell logging and climate change.

"Our hope lies in asking policy makers to reconsider the harm being done by clearing forests," she said.

"And then, there is the climate change effects on health that come from reduced rainfall, exacerbated by the clearing of trees.

"Trees are the backbone of our eco-system. They are the heart and lungs of earth.

"They take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, store it in their roots, release oxygen and transpire water which rises and mixes with other particles in the air to form clouds and produce rain.

"Western Australia has recorded continually decreasing rainfall as our forests have been cleared.

"There are also effects of clearing forests in the foothills from Perth to the south on the estuary and rivers which are vital to the life we love in the Mandurah/Pinjarra area.

"We need to do everything we can to improve the health of the estuary.

Mayor Rhys Williams attended the Mandurah premier of Cry of the Forest, narrated by well-known Noongar actor Kelton Peel, at Reading Cinema last week.

Mayor Williams commented that the film was the most articulate account he had seen of why we need to protect native forests.

He was so impressed with the film, the City of Mandurah will be organisng a free outdoor public showing in the near future.