Conservation can be complicated.
That was the central message conveyed by two scientists focused on conserving marine life in the Baja region of Mexico as they Skyped with our Producing the Documentary class. In this Pace University course, a dozen students and two professors will spend a week in late March exploring the evolving interactions of people and marine life in and around Magdalena Bay, on the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula.
These initial class sessions are centered on research — getting the lay of the land and array of issues in this region. On Tuesday night, we had the opportunity to speak with two experts on Magdalena Bay and its communities — both human and marine. Dr Andrew J. Schneller and Dr. Wallace J. Nichols are involved in separate efforts to conserve the local marine ecosystem in the “Mag Bay” area, but also to help foster sustainable development and environmental awareness.
Andrew J. Schneller PH.D. a Visiting Assistant Professor at Skidmore College in their environmental studies department, frequents the area to study the community dynamics surrounding the marine conservation movement. Our conversation with Dr. Schneller gave our class some remarkable insight into the communities surrounding Mag Bay, as well as the eco-tourism associated with the area, and even some tensions, particularly over fishing, that have the potential to hinder the conservation movement. Check out our conversation with Dr. Schneller!!
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a well known marine biologist, conservationist, community organizer, and author, has been involved in sea turtle conservation efforts in Magdalena Bay for many years. Dr. Nichols, who had just been in the area a week earlier, provided a detailed description of efforts to restore several sea turtle species and talked about several local citizens assisting in those efforts. He, too, touched on the tensions between conservation and commerce, some of it outside the law:
Both conversations were extremely helpful. From what we have gathered so far, we are beginning to realize there are countless stories to be told about Magdalena Bay. We are excited to hear about the experiences others have had and are looking forward to our own experience when we start filming in just six weeks!