By JENNIFER MORRISSEY
The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation is excited to share that “Rise and Fall of the Mountains at Mission Trails Regional Park” has been nominated for an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Southwest Chapter. The 20-minute film features geologist, SDSU professor emeritus, and San Carlos resident Pat Abbott who explains how Mission Trails’ five peaks formed over millions of years.
The MTRP Foundation created the film with Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Paul Alexander “Alex” Juutilainen of De Facto Fiction Films, who attended graduate school at UC San Diego, taught at the university, and once worked at KPBS. For Mission Trails’ geology film, Juutilainen and a small crew visited sites in and around the park that allowed Dr. Abbott to illustrate how Mission Trails was “built.”
Though not within the park, one location featured in the film is the Superior Ready Mix quarry on Mission Gorge Road. There, Dr. Abbott shares evidence of volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago, shown as layers within the rock. Two other locations featured in the film include stops along Father Junipero Serra Trail where the “mystery” of the rounded boulders is explained, and Lake Murray where remnants of an alluvial fan can be seen.
Intended to be shown in the MTRP Visitor Center theater, the film instead debuted on the MTRP Foundation YouTube channel because of the Visitor Center’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it turns out, the film’s presence on YouTube has been immensely helpful to educators at all levels in their distance learning curricula. From local middle and high school teachers to Midwest college professors, the film has been utilized to support students’ learning during an unprecedented year. Currently, it has more than 11,000 views on YouTube.
We thank the City of San Diego, SDG&E, San Diego Association of Geologists and donors to the MTRP Foundation for underwriting the film’s production. The regional Emmy Awards will be announced on Friday, June 4.
Predating the film is Abbott’s book, “Geology: Mission Trails Park,” a second edition of which will soon be at print, and available online at mtrpstore.org. Earlier this year, Pat Abbott presented three online lectures about the park’s geology that are available for viewing on the MTRP Foundation YouTube channel.
In the coming weeks, the Foundation will share a series of social media posts that can help park users identify rocks along the trail, so follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram to learn more about the geology of Mission Trails, a regional gem with endless opportunities for learning.
— Jennifer Morrissey is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.