Hailey began leading the way in green initiatives in the Wood River Valley in 2007 when Mayor Susan McBryant signed the Kyoto Protocol, joining more than 700 other municipalities in the United States committed to reverting to 1990 greenhouse-gas emissions levels.
Since then, Hailey has passed ordinances allowing home-based wind generators and chicken coops and fast-tracking energy-efficient buildings. Last year, the city passed a voluntary green building code.
Local filmmaker David Butterfield has begun documenting the governmental and community challenges that the city faces on the road to environmental sustainability.
"The overriding mission of the film is to bring lessons to other communities," Butterfield said.
Butterfield is filming scenes related to a valleywide Climate Showcase Challenge program, made possible in part by a $472,000 Climate Showcase Community Grant awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January.
The grant includes a $47,000 budget for the documentary film. It will be a 30- to 50-minute video comprised of small segments, which would be available on DVD, constructed in chapters and searchable.
The EPA grant will be matched with about $175,000 of city funds and some $62,000 of in-kind contributions from 15 partnering organizations, bringing the total expenditures in the Hailey Climate Community Challenge program to $706,000.
The grant, city funds and contributions will provide for expansion of the city's Community Energy Audit and Retrofit program, a downtown bike share system, streetlight upgrades, green building demonstrations and other outreach initiatives.
Former City Planner Mariel Platt recently moved into a new three-year position funded in part by the EPA Climate Showcase grant. As Hailey's newly appointed sustainability coordinator, Platt will oversee the various grant programs and continue to monitor existing programs in Hailey.
Platt will also be a participant in the documentary film.
"The grant required a strong education, outreach and replicability element," Platt said. "For other jurisdictions, this will mean not having to reinvent the wheel. It will provide a message for the community. But we won't know what the message is until we get further on into the filming process."
Platt said Hailey is one of 25 cities chosen from a pool of 300 grant applicants nationwide. She and Hailey grant writer Tracy Anderson recently returned from a required weekend trip to Denver to network with officials from other grantee cities.
Butterfield has filmed actual governmental proceedings in the Hailey City Council chambers involving high school students working to ban the use of non-reusable plastic bags, a construction recycling program associated with the Wood River Land Trust Thrift Store and some solo interviews.
"Each of these projects has its own set of adventures that will unfold," Butterfield said. "In some cases, the lesson will be to say, 'This is not how to do it.'"
Platt said the film would be broadly distributed on the Internet, at film festivals and perhaps on Idaho Public Television, which has agreed to review the finished product and assess its potential for airing.
"The film will be a central piece of Hailey's education, outreach and replication strategy," she said. "It will showcase the Climate Challenge, covering both why the work is important and how it was done."
Tony Evans: firstname.lastname@example.org