We, here at the North Carolina Science Trail, have been lucky to work with some incredible people who care about nature and the world around us. They are the ones who spread the word. They help to put the rest of us on the right paths when we often don’t know where we need to be. Will Freund and his father, Chip, fall into that category. Will is constantly amazing me with his dedication and passion for all things science and nature. I can see his acorn fell right next to the tree. This amazing duo has brought us a story about climate that we all need to hear. Read about their adventure here and then check out the trailer below, which is currently being evaluated for a number of documentary film awards. Way to go Freund Crew!

Blue Glacier: Then and Now

When you hear the word “glacier” what comes to mind? Probably something along the lines of a big chunk of snow and ice flowing down a mountain, and you’re not wrong. However, they are so much more than that. Glaciers are the spring of life for the valley below and one of our planet’s key indicators of a changing climate. 

In 2022, father-son duo Chip and Will Freund set out to document how one specific glacier has changed in our lifetime for their project, Blue Glacier Then & Now. Chip is a professional landscape photographer based in Raleigh, North Carolina and Will is an environmental documentary filmmaker based in Greensboro, NC. This story starts in 1982 when Chip was just 18 years old, and he was spending his summer working for the Student Conservation Association doing backcountry trail work in Olympic National Park in Washington State.

During that summer, Chip took dozens of pictures of the environment he was working in, including the mighty Blue Glacier that feeds the park’s Hoh River. With all the talk around climate change these days, Chip set out to tell his climate story by heading back to Olympic National Park 40 years to the week of when he was there last to recreate the photos he took and show how the Blue Glacier had been affected by climate change in the intervening four decades.  

Despite the heartbreaking loss of ice the project documents, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude to the many supporters that helped bring the project to life. Gratitude for the opportunity to return to such a beautiful wild place, and gratitude to have shared a place so special to me with my family. By sharing personal climate change stories, like mine, I am hopeful that we can bridge the divide in our society and begin to work together to address the causes and impacts to our changing planet.” – Chip Freund, Landscape Photographer

As a filmmaker, Will is so excited to help tell this story, especially since it gives him the chance to work alongside his dad. Coming off the heels of his last film, Connected By Water, Will is truly passionate about sharing personal stories as a conduit to talk about climate change. Through these photos, film, and conversations, Chip and Will hope to shed some light on the fact that the Blue Glacier has lost over a third of its ice in the last 40 years. Chip’s photos are currently on exhibition at the Cary Arts Center in Cary, North Carolina through the end of August 2023. You can view the trailer for the film, Blue Glacier Then & Now on YouTube.