It’s not every day that our biologists get to make film appearances!
In 2013, ECORP was working on a project for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) which involved biologists surveying substantial portions of the Ivanpah Valley and Superior-Cronese Desert Wildlife Management Areas (designated critical habitat for desert tortoise) and the Southeast Conservation Area of Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert searching for evidence of desert tortoise predation under active common raven nests.
At that same time, the NFWF and the Desert Managers Group (DMG) were in talks with a filmmaker, Timothy Branning, about creating a documentary on the plight of the desert tortoise due to the persistent and opportunistic common raven. One thing led to another, and ECORP biologists Kristen Wasz and Gregory Hampton found themselves in front of the camera during a nest survey that April!
The biologists were asked to describe the surveys, the overall purpose of the project, and walk future viewers through a typical survey day in the desert.
The documentary was finalized in 2015 and debuted at the Idyllwild International Film Festival that same year. After multiple presentations at film festivals, the documentary was nominated for several awards, ultimately winning two awards for Best Film in wildlife-related categories. The 30-minute documentary recently aired on KCET in April 2018, raising even more public awareness about the serious and ever-present threat that common ravens pose to California’s state reptile.
Watch the documentary in the video below.
See Kristen and Greg’s documentary debut at 20:56!
For more information, contact Kristen Wasz at (909) 307-0046.