Three Edinboro campus environmental organizations are hosting a screening and discussion of a WQLN/PBS Chronicles documentary that explores the delicate balance and interdependency of living things in and around Lake Erie.

Edinboro’s Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences program, Students of Edinboro for Environmental Defense and GeoClub are partnering with Lyons Den Productions to bring “Lake Erie, Our Kin” to Frank G. Pogue Student Center’s multipurpose room at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov 15.

The film-screening and discussion, which is free and open to all interested attendees, will also dig into the vital importance of fresh water in all our lives.

Joining the discussion will be PennWest geosciences professor Dr. Joe Reese and filmmakers John C. Lyons and Melissa A. Troutman.

Lyons and Troutman collaborated on the two-part documentary for PBS, which examines the historical, ecological and spiritual relationships among native peoples and Lake Erie – and the current local and global threats to the health of Lake Erie and its nearby inhabitants.

Between the U.S. and Canada live five massive bodies of fresh water we call the Great Lakes. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume yet provides drinking water to 11 million people. Together, these inland seas make up the largest body of fresh water on planet Earth.

But according to Lyons, with the growth of local industry, the health of the lake has declined.

“In response to public outrage over how polluted the waters had become, governments created environmental laws to police and protect the lake,” he said. “But threats both old and new continue to plague Lake Erie and haunt all those who call it home.”

A 2000 grad of Edinboro, Lyons is an Erie-based award-winning writer, director and producer, who uses the medium of film to bring issues to the masses and inspire political or social change. His work includes eco-horror “Unearth” (2020), blue-collar mystery “There Are No Goodbyes” (2013) and Alzheimer's drama “Schism” (2009).

In addition to working full time as a manager of client support services for PennWest, he served as the executive director of the nonprofit Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania, where he now continues to serve as director of programming. Lyons serves as a teaching artist for Erie Arts & Culture and Erie Center for Arts & Technology, a member of the Green New Deal Coalition and a member of Erie Philharmonic's board of governors.

Troutman is an award-winning writer, film director and producer, environmental justice advocate and vocal artist from the ancestral homelands of the Susquehannock and Haudenosaunee, known as Potter County, Pennsylvania.

In 2011, Melissa co-founded the investigative news nonprofit Public Herald and has since produced four documentary films. She currently works for WildEarth Guardians based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and resides on Lake Erie bluffs in North East, Pennsylvania.