The Weeks Bay Foundation is currently raising money to finish its second documentary focusing on costal Alabama.
“Underwater Forest” will feature an ancient cypress forest, which Weeks Bay team members discovered off of Alabama’s coast in 2012.
“We’ve produced photos and videos of the site that have gone viral on the Internet,” said producer Ben Raines. “So far, the public has only seen a fraction of what we’ve shot out there, and what the scientists we are working with have discovered.”
Raines and the Weeks Bay Foundation were behind the “America’s Amazon,” documentary that focused on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
Raines said radiocarbon dating of the wood showed the forest to be at least 50,000 years old, which has prompted the interest of salvage logging companies.
“They were offering money for the coordinates to the site because they wanted to go out and pull the stumps up off the seafloor to make tables and trinkets,” he said. “There has been quite a lot of this done already with wood pulled up out of swamps in Louisiana.”
Weeks Bay took on the task of protecting the underwater forest and nominated it for federal protection as a National Marine Sanctuary.
The protected status of the forest is still pending.
Once it’s official, Raines said the foundation wants to release the coordinates so the public can fish and dive at the one-of-a-kind location.
“Hopefully our film will be completed about the time the protection comes through and gets shown nationally,” Raines said. “The forest is a unique natural wonder, and it will bring divers from all over the country to our area. There’s simply nothing like it anywhere else in the world.”
A Kickstarter campaign is currently underway to fully fund the project and will continue through May 1.
The project reached its $15,000 goal in only a week, but Raines says much more is needed to produce “Underwater Forest” properly.
“We’ve been working out there for a year, funded out of our own pockets,” he said. “We’re hoping people keep donating, because every little bit helps. When we made ‘America’s Amazon,’ we had a budget of about $100,000. We’re a long way from that.”
Donations can be made through kickstarter.com on the page designated for the “Underwater Forest” documentary.
Unrelated to the film, The Weeks Bay Foundation is also hosting its largest fundraiser of the year, The Bald Eagle Bash, this Saturday, April 26, from 4-7 p.m.
The event will feature all-you-can-eat seafood, live music and drinks.
It will be held on the edge of Weeks Bay, under the U.S. 98 Bridge over Fish River, at the site of the old LuLu’s restaurant.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 the day of the event.
To purchase tickets, call 990-5004 or visit baldeaglebash.com.