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'Big Tree' struggles during drought; Web doc explores reinvention

Peggy Lowe
Harvest Public Media

Before the American Revolution, before the Civil War, before Lewis and Clark came through here, a huge tree has been standing in central Missouri, growing to 90-feet tall. The beloved bur oak – which everybody calls "The Big Tree" -- has survived floods, lightning strikes and all kinds of punishments during her 350 years on the prairie. But, as Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe reports, last year’s record drought was especially hard on the Big Tree.

Hostess. Nordyne. Fuqua Building Systems. AP Green. The shutdown of all these plants signaled the loss of hundreds of Missouri jobs.

Imagine if it was just one powerhouse plant that helped define a city -- a city known for its innovation and production. That city is Dayton, Ohio. Now imagine that plant closes.

Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar are documentary filmmakers from Dayton, Ohio. You might know them from their 2006 Emmy-award winning documentary “A Lion in the House.”  One of their most recent documentaries, though, was “The Last Truck.” The film follows the shutdown of the General Motors Plant in Dayton, Ohio and the workers who were affected. It was that film that inspired them to take documentary to a whole different medium – the Web. Both filmmakers came to Columbia for the 2013 True/False Festival to debut their experimental project.

Kristofor left KBIA in fall of 2021