Restoration Legacy

Please review the following concepts as they pertain to the creation of a 30-60 minute feature documentary and potential follow-on educational series that I have entitled “Restoration Legacy.” At times when attempting to verbally explain the documentary concept, my passion for the research and conservation of the Tres Marias Archipelago (which is the nucleus of the documentary) can overshadow the ultimate goal of the discussion, which is for any interested party to completely understand the unique filmmaking opportunities and vision. To that end, and by way of this proposal, I will attempt to objectively describe and clarify what I have in mind in writing.

As I am sure you are aware, the environment and the preservation thereof, is a huge topic worldwide and that individuals, businesses, educational institutions, NGO’s and governments who are involved in conservation and restoration of the planet should be recognized and applauded for their efforts. I believe the best avenue to deliver such recognition is through visual media. From an educational standpoint alone, to inspire the next generation by showcasing environmental projects in process (or completed). the process, the passion, the sacrifice, the motivation, is not only exciting, but absolutely crucial to continue in what I call “instinctive global preservation.”

The Documentary…Restoration Legacy

The underlying theme or thesis of the documentary will be built around the fact that islands are miniature examples of our planet, however surrounded by water not space. Islands (their terrestrial and surrounding marine environments) are very delicate in that when an environmental imbalance occurs (usually caused by man), life forms are degraded quickly, resulting in of loss of biodiversity and even species extinction. By the same token, islands can also be restored due to their isolation and the fact that they are controlled environments. Therefore, islands can be viewed as experimental stations or petri dishes, if you will, where scientific research and restoration techniques can be applied and create a model for global restoration. In 2013 we have an invaluable opportunity to witness the science, restoration and continued preservation of one of the most unique island groups in the world…the Tres Marias!

From both terrestrial and marine viewpoints, the most noted scientists in their field will perform the necessary research, which will dictate a conservation/restoration plan and then implement that plan to accomplish their ultimate goal of preserving the islands in a natural state for future generations.

The scientists who will be featured are incredibly accomplished and recognized scientists. For the marine environment research we have Dr. Octavio Aburto-Oropeza and Dr. Brad Erismen, both are PHD’s and lead researchers for Scripps Institute of Oceanography. They are famous for the complete restoration and ongoing management of a coral reef in Mexico known as Cabo Pulmo (to be featured in the follow-on series). Their work (at Cabo Pulmo) was recognized internationally by National Geographic as the largest reef in the world ever to have been restored. The project took ten years enlisting the help of local fisherman who patrolled and protected that environment while recuperating from overfishing and poaching that completely destroyed the reef marine habitat. For the terrestrial research we will feature Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra and Dr. Alfonso Aguirre. Both have achieved international recognition for their work in the environment. Dr. Aguirres’ Mexican non-profit, (GECI) has restored 18 islands to date in the Sea of Cortez and Pacific and is on a trajectory of restoring 30 islands by the year 2035. His biggest restoration achievement to date was Guadalupe Island, which after 10 years has been restored to its original state, requiring the removal of invasive species and implementation of strict management techniques. Dr. Ezcurra was also involved in the Guadalupe Island project, but is most noted for his work with coastal mangroves and their importance as regards to spawning areas and natural protection of coastal lands. He is a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Riverside, CA. Obviously, resumes of each of the featured researches are available upon request.

“Restoration Legacy” will showcase these individuals as they discover the unique marine and terrestrial habitats found at the Tres Marias Islands, which have been protected since 1905. They will be portrayed as “heroes of the environment” and role models to future generations. We will interview them in Spanish and English as they perform the necessary research both on land and under the water. We will also give due credit to the appropriate Mexican Government officials and organizations allowing us to do this project and who are cognizant of the fact that these islands are truly a world treasure worthy to be preserved. We will also explain that this is an international effort and gives the common ground necessary in order to construct a “cultural bridge” that benefits all people, regardless of race or political bent.

So, that is the concept of the documentary, to showcase a globally important and incredibly unique conservation work in process from the beginning of the research stage. This will take 6 months of research and filming, which is currently scheduled to begin April 15, 2013 and end November 30, 2013. Most of the raw videography and still photography will be taken by Scripps researchers. Post production editing should take an additional 90 days, so we could conceivably deliver a 60 minute film by January 2014. The intended purpose of the film is for use as a tool to raise awareness and funding to pay for the restoration, conservation and ongoing management of this world treasure and others like it!

“Restoration Legacy” will take advantage of the incredible beauty and unique nature of the Tres Marias, to say the least, the marine and terrestrial environments are extremely “photogenic”. It will touch on the fact that the land and sea are integrally and intimately connected… ie what happens on land affects the sea and visa versa. In conclusion it will paint the picture of the petri dish concept as mentioned above, it will showcase a supportive government, it will portray the international players as heroes, and define what motivates them, and finally that individuals can and will make a difference! The documentary will include, but not necessarily be limited to the following:

  • Introduction to the Tres Marias, Their History and Why they are Unique.
  • Scripps Scientists at work: Importance of Cataloguing Flora and Fauna as a Marine Baseline Study
  • Pelagic Fish Tagging Operation: The Tres Marias is home to a wide variety of pelagic species including Yellow Fin Tuna, which is one of, if not THE most important sustainable food sources worldwide. To understand why these fish congregate around the Tres Marias, their numbers, breeding habits and movements will be a very important part of the expedition.
  • Satellite Tracking Buoys Deployed as a Part of the Pelagic Tagging Operation
  • Interviews with Marine Scientists, their goals and motivations – on location
  • Underwater Filming and Explanation of Biomass Assessments
  • Dive Teams Catalogue Top Predators: Sharks and Groupers
  • Humback and Orca Migration to Bahia Banderas through the Tres Marias
  • Importance and Discussion of New Marine Species Discovered
  • Terrestrial Scientists Discovery and Discussion of Endemic and Invasive Flora and Fauna
  • Interviews with Biologic Specialists: ornithologists, herpitologists, and botanists
  • Explanation of the Process of Restoration and Future Management Plans

Anyone interested in producing the documentary as outlined above should contact Greg Alker at or call 805-567-1412.

Best regards,

Greg Alker
Director, Grupo Cleofas

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