Last March, during spring break, Wilder Nicholson ’16 traveled to Iceland to explore the world of geothermal energy, a controversial issue in the small island nation.
With his video equipment packed into a rental car, Nicholson made his way through sideways blowing blizzards as he traveled across the stark and beautiful volcanic landscape. Along the way, he interviewed a scientist, a manager of a geothermal plant, a mayor and a conservationist about the possible effects of building new plants and expanding geothermal energy in the country. “What people are learning about geothermal energy is that there are risks and challenges,” Nicholson said, including pollution and even earthquakes.
To fund his project, Nicholson won a $3,000 Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain scholarship. The fellowship supports students pursuing non-credit enrichment opportunities — such as research, independent study, internships and travel expenses — during their spring or summer breaks.
Nicholson, who is majoring in environmental studies and economics and grew up in Brunswick, Maine, said that working on the documentary taught him to follow a budget and a production schedule, and gave him confidence about interviewing different types of people. “I really enjoy using film as a medium to spread awareness about environmental issues,” he said.
He is currently working on other films about India that explore subjects such as solar energy, development and its impacts on traditional culture, tourism and an eco-village. He received a Thomas A. McKinley ’06 and Hannah Weil McKinley ’08 Summer Fellowship from Bowdoin to fund his travels through India this summer.
Nicholson will screen his documentary and give a short presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 10, in the Beam Classroom in the Visual Arts Center. A Q&A will follow.