Directors’ Message

Welcome to the California Environmental Legacy Project.

As its Directors, we are pleased to share our progress with you as we enter the third year of our National Science Foundation funding. This $3M grant, one of the largest awards of its kind in the nation, set our Project into full swing – this next year promising to provide many exciting developments as we head toward the Project’s launch in spring 2013.

It seems appropriate that we share a short bit of history on the origin of the Project. It turns out the idea was originally conceived by Jim as a master’s degree student in the early 1990s, after seeing a photographic essay illustrating how people had dramatically modified the San Francisco Peninsula. Strongly affected by these photos, Jim imagined the impact an animated feature would have that showed how people had completely transformed California’s original landscapes.

By 2005, advancements in animation technology made the idea of such a film possible. With support from Sacramento State, Jim seized the opportunity and teamed up with Jeffrey at Humboldt State University. Together with Cheryl Smith and Michael Barbour from UC Davis, and Michael Hager from the San Diego Natural History Museum, we built a network of interest in the idea and assembled a core team of collaborators. Guided by this group and key partnerships with California State Parks, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, the Project grew to include new and innovative ways of using media to build connections with our audience beyond a film.

Today, with a remarkable team of distinguished scientists, leading educators and award-winning media professionals, our Project is re-imagining how science, technology and media work together to educate, connect and inspire us to act as true partners with nature.

We invite you to explore and discover the many facets of this pioneering project starting right here.

Jim Baxter – Executive Producer/Jeffrey White – Executive Producer

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