CHICAGO, IL – Locally produced documentary, “Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability,” will be screened at the University of Chicago on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall 1212 E. 59th Street. The documentary examines the relationship between environmental and industrial forces on the South Shore of Lake Michigan. The film also highlights the worldwide impact as a result of the fight to create the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The crew of the sixty-minute documentary includes current Hyde Park resident Tom Desch and native Rana Segal. Desch served as the documentary’s producer, writer, and editor; Segal was a producer and the director of photography. Lee Botts, the executive producer, once called Hyde Park home and served as the editor of the Hyde Park Herald.  Pat Wisniewski, producer and director, grew up in the South Chicago neighborhood of Hegewisch.

But the crew’s members are not the only ones with the Hyde Park ties, many of the characters at the center of the film’s narrative have ties to the neighborhood:

  • Henry Chandler Cowles, a botanist at the University of Chicago, researched the plant life in the Indiana Dunes and helped launch the science of ecology.
  • John D. Rockefeller shaped both Hyde Park with the founding of the University of Chicago; but, he also led the charge to industrialize Lake Michigan’s South Shore when he built—at the time—the world’s largest oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana.
  • Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, once called Hyde Park home and many from the neighborhood joined him in advocating for a Dunes National Park including Sears President Julius Rosenwald and Sculptor Loredo Taft. Later, Illinois Senator Paul Douglas became a leading voice for the creation of the National Park.

The University of Chicago’s Program on the Global Environment and Doc Films, the university’s student film society, will host the screening, which is free and open to the public. After the screening, Dr. Alison Anastasio, the executive director of the university’s Medical Scientist Training Program and lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program, will lead a discussion with members of the production team. To learn more about The Program on the Global Environment, visit


About “Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability”

“Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability” explores how the Indiana Dunes region, through its influential environmental battles, offers a blueprint towards a more sustainable future. The film’s 2016 release marks 100 years since the creation of the National Park Service and 50 years after the congressional authorization of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Presented by Lakeshore Public Television (WYIN) and distributed by American Public Television (APT), “Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability” has aired across 240 public television stations since August 2016. Proceeds from the film benefit WYIN and the Dunes Learning Center. For more information about the film, visit