Banjos Benefit Conservation Documentary Group Wild Lens at VAC


Tate and Beth Mason of Boises Idyltime.
  • Andrew Crisp
  • Tate and Beth Mason of Boise's Idyltime take the stage at VAC.

While music took up much of the stage at the Visual Arts Collective Saturday, Dec. 15, the event was also a benefit for Boise conservation filmmakers Wild Lens.

Husband and wife duo Beth and Tate Mason make up Idyltime, a project Tate said has been limited because of his graduate program at Boise State University's raptor research center.

While Tate deftly plucked his banjo, Beth thumbed the strings of her guitar and crooned the bluegrass staple, "I'll Fly Away."

That song was particularly poignant, given Wild Lens' work spreading the word about bullets laced with lead, and the effects on bird populations, as well as its other avian-minded conservation efforts.

Mandy Fer at the Visual Arts Collective, Saturday, Dec. 15.
  • Andrew Crisp
  • Mandy Fer performs at Visual Arts Collective, Saturday, Dec. 15.

"Lead fragments can end up in game meat that hunters take home to their family," explained Wild Lens president Matthew Podolsky. "There's a chance that you're actually going to poison your family."

Wild Lens created a full-length documentary on the subject, as well as half a dozen short documentaries, a selection of which were played between sets at the VAC. Following Idyltime, Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer took the stage.

"We woke up in a very, very snowy Bozeman, Mont., this morning," said McGraw. "We spent five hours driving through the snow, and we drove 10 hours—we were so worried we wouldn't be here."

For McGraw, who worked in Arizona to help save the endangered California condor, the evening was a chance to help. It was the pair's first Boise show.

On stage, McGraw and Fer's harmonies drew the seated crowd to their feet.