“The Nature Makers” is a moving portrait of passionate people and the extraordinary creatures they’re fighting to preserve.
In a world increasingly dominated by humans, three teams of wildlife conservationists go to extraordinary and seemingly unnatural lengths to try to save three threatened species in the American heartland.
Stunningly photographed in the Grand Canyon and on the American prairie, “The Nature Makers” follows rugged biologists who’ve deployed helicopters, giant bulldozers and a host of human tools to defend wild nature. In the
21st century, defending the wild often requires, quite paradoxically, technology and aggressive human intervention.
It’s the story of how we found ourselves on the brink of losing so much of the natural world around us. And, in a time of dire environmental warnings, it charts an optimistic, though unmistakably challenging, path forward.
On the Platte River in Nebraska, dams and agriculture have so changed the landscape that a team of biologists led by Brice Krohn now must scour the river with heavy machinery to perform, with technology, the functions that used to be carried out naturally by spring floods. Without that work, the river landscape that has supported the magnificent Sandhill Crane migration for hundreds of thousands of years would disappear.
In the American West, dams and intentional poisoning campaigns have driven an important native fish, thehumpback chub, to near extinction. Now, deep in the Grand Canyon, a team of biologists led by Brian Healyloads the endangered chub into barrels and flies them by helicopter into remote tributaries of the ColoradoRiver. It’s a last-ditch effort to repopulate the fish into their native streams before the species disappears forever.
In Colorado and South Dakota, decades of organized poisonings and intensive land development have reduced the ecologically pivotal prairie dog to between 1-5% of their original numbers. When alerted to an endangered colony, a team led by Lindsey Sterling Krank uses construction equipment and industrial tubing to build artificial burrows for prairie dogs they’ve rescued from a gruesome death by poison.
Directed by Scott Saunders
Director of Photography – Oktay Ortabasi
Produced by Scott Saunders, Oktay Ortabasi, Tatiana Detlofson Written by Scott Saunders
Edited by Scott Saunders
Original Score – David Mann
Music by Ben Sollee
Sound Design – Jan Bezouska and Peter Bawiec Associate Producer – Gerald Butters
Motion and Print Design – Azin Shama
Foley Recorded at Soundsquare Prague
Mixed at Smart Post Sound, Burbank
Featured and Supporting Organizations
The Crane Trust
The Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society of the United States
The National Park Service
The Grand Canyon Conservancy
Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
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Running time: 70 minutes | Ratio: 1:85 | Sound: 5.1 | Format: DCP | Language: English