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Conservation, Environment, Science awards Genius awards,


Photo:  Yann Jacobsen

The following two projects have been approved for Founder Producers.

Species Survival

ChangeMaker - Ken Balcomb

Ken Balcomb devoted his life to surveying a family of urban orcas who frequent the waters between Seattle and Canada, following their favorite prey: Chinook salmon. When Ken and his peers began to count orcas, in the 1970s, few believed that whales could be known individually, much less mapped into matrilineal families. His initial survey helped to end the era of orca capture in Puget Sound, by revealing that the population of whales was much smaller than previously understood. Ken helped to shift public opinion to understand that the fate of resident orcas and Chinook salmon, both endangered species, are entwined, just as our fate is entwined with the natural world. The legacy of Ken’s work as a ChangeMaker is not just what he revealed through a lifetime of patient observation, but the shift in perception he fostered. Human residents of the Pacific Northwest now care, passionately, about the dwindling orcas off their shores. Many marine conservation careers have been launched by the Center for Whale Research. Ken's lifelong quest ran out of time in December 2022. The question posed by the passing of this ChangeMaker: will his beloved orcas run out of time as well? This short documentary is about forging constructive change through passion and persistence, as a top ocean predator struggles to exist in waters dominated by a burgeoning human population. What needs to change for both to thrive?

Produced and directed by Jessica Plumb, Plumb Productions, Port Townsend WA.

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