New Colorado River Delta Film released just as new treaty signed between US and Mexico. We are pleased to announce that our film “A Changing Delta” will premier at the 2013 Wild and Scenic FIlm Festival in Nevada City, CA on January 12, 2012. The film was written, edited and produced by Andy Quinn, Brandon […]
There is a great article in The Conversation, an Australian media website, that talks about the growing conflict between Aboriginal Clans of Australia and the Green Enviro organizations. The article can be read from here. The article was sent to me by Tim Dykman who runs the Ocean Revolution, a project sponsored as well […]
We have spent the last three days working out of Exmouth exploring the Ningaloo Marine Park. We did a helicopter survey of the North Cape Peninsula, a snorkel trip along the Ningaloo Reef out of Coral Bay and a dolphin spotting boat trip through the Murat, Bundegi and Lighthouse Sanctuary Zones. We have seen whales […]
The 4 man Arctic Row team ended its expedition after 1000 miles and 41 days attempting to be the first to row across the ice free Arctic Ocean from Canada to Russia. Incredibly bad weather trapped them behind shore ice for days at a time and then gale force storms kept them stuck in a […]
It seems that Colin Barnett, Western Australia’s Premier is refusing to allow any changes to the Browse Basin Lease off the NW Coast of Australia. After Woodside and Shell decided to drop the plans to build a $35B LNG plant North of Broome in favor of a less expensive floating LNG processing plan, Barnett and […]
The Coastal Walkabout app recently underwent initial testing in the Kimberley by MUCRU student Shona Wharton as part of a 10 day cruise along the Kimberley coast just a few weeks ago. The app that is scheduled for full release for Android and iPhone in November, was put thru its paces aboard the MV […]
McCain McMurray leads the GIS effort for the Marine Ventures project and is the next generation family member to pursue a career in Conservation. McCain recently completed his masters in remote sensing from University Queensland in Brisbane. And he is now a remote sensing specialists at New Fields, a cutting edge consulting firm located in Boulder, CO where he flies Lidar drones around the world. McCain was also responsible for our entry into the social media/public information maps created by ESRI. His initial research and efforts are the basis for our projects in the Colorado Basin and Western Australia. McCain is also graduate of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Dr. Tom McMurray is President and CEO of Marine Ventures Foundation and leads the conservation projects. Since founding Marine Ventures in 2000, he has been involved in a wide range of projects in the US, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Bahamas and Western Australia. Tom is currently the Chair of the Felidae Conservation Fund, was one of he founding directors of The Ocean Foundation and still serves on the Technical Advisory board for Lighthawk. In his previous life, Tom was a Managing Director at Sequoia Capital where much of the inspiration for leveraging cutting edge technology to attempt to modernize the conservation movement was born. Finally he received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University.
Brandon White is a co-founder and a Board member of Marine Ventures Foundation. Currently the CEO of the Zeuss, he has been a leading figure in fish conservation on the Chesapeake Bay for the past decade. He was the Founder of Tidal Fish, the largest social networking site for sport fishermen, and perviously served on Maryland’s Sportfish Advisory Board. When not working on Zeuss, Brandon is a dedicated road cyclist training for the Race Across America (RAAM) and a fierce competitor in all things. Brandon has his MBA from UNC-CH, Masters in Psychology from Washington College and has worked at several leading edge technology companies. Finally, he is a trend setter with his new fixie bike feeling that brakes on a bike just slow you down.
Carson McMurray is also actively involved in conservation and Marine Ventures projects and leads the Colorado River Basin project for Marine Ventures. In 2012 he completed a three month, 700 miles expedition down the Colorado River. The expedition was a documentary film project, a social media communication project and a citizen science project where they collected soil samples for carbon dating as part of a University of Colorado research grant. Carson recently graduated from Colorado College and was the lead GIS expert for their State of the Rockies project. In 2013, Carson joined the Bing Mapping team at Microsoft in Boulder, CO. Carson believes that the San Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl this year (every year) and you can find his latest NFL analysis on his website Inside the Film Room.
Andy Quinn is a talented independent cameraman and amazing filmmaker with an impressive list of credits. He has both filmed and edited projects for Discovery, PBS and NBC as well as his own portfolio of documentary films. Andy did his first film with Marine Ventures back in 2005 documenting our citizen science dolphinfish work. He has also filmed along side us in the Henrys Fork Watershed, Colorado River Delta and Western Australia. Andy has also developed a cult following in most of the places he has worked. Known as Mbogo by the Tanzanians and Snubbie by the people of Western Australia, he combines the creative eye with an openness to new ideas and culture.
Simon has his bio below but having traveled with him extensively in the Kimberley, I can say he is a dedicated and talented researcher, awesome photographer and an ALL In kind of guy when it comes to getting the job done. He has a penchant for Matos’s ginger beer but can be convinced to down a XXX anytime. Simon says “My research interests lie primarily in assessing the impacts of human activities (fisheries, tourism and coastal development) on marine megafauna for application to their conservation and management. On the more empirical side, I work with colleagues on the complex social and foraging behaviours of coastal delphinids. I have a general interest in the behaviour, ecology and conservation of both marine and terrestrial wildlife”. Simon is just finishing his Ph.D. at Murdoch University in Perth, WA.
Marine Ventures Foundation was started in 2000 to fund innovative ecosystem protection projects on a global basis. Our project funding focus has always centered on two key themes – the use of advanced technology and documentary film and photography to advance conservation goals, disrupt the entrenched commercial and government agency bias and support the next generation conservation leaders that can deliver results. Our experience over the last decade of funding is not without many failures. We are willing to invest and go outside the box to find the critical ingredients to conservation success – dynamic and significant ecosystem, local talented conservation partners and a plan for success. And even with all three, success sometimes is elusive or beyond a timeframe for us.
Funding the mainstream conservation NGOs has not, in our results timeframe, been a great investment of the Foundation’s assets. Our initial funding of the Ocean Foundation is a great example of a startup NGO that has achieved considerable success in the past 8 years with over $30M raised and distributed into over 100 projects on all seven continents.
We have spent many years working with the Henrys Fork Foundation where we had those three critical ingredients present. Our results to date are significant in terms of baseline data acquired, people influenced and engagement of the community. But any significant change in the management policy of the river has not occurred. It is more “not that bad so don’t do anything” mentality. And in the end, the Henrys Fork is dominated by a strong and committed farm and ranch community that has lived there for 100 years. Their culture has survived all the attempts by the NGO and tourism fishing industry to change how the river is managed or the laws that govern water use. In the end community and culture top recreation and even ecotourism jobs whether it be on the Henrys Fork or Chesapeake bay where we started MVF and struggled for years to get anything done.
The creation of Blue Cloud Spatial in collaboration with the Ocean Foundation was simply to bring together a team of experts and partners to help solve complex conservation problems. Funded entirely by Marine Ventures, Blue Cloud’s work in the Colorado River Delta help create several documentary films to tell the story of the Delta Restoration effort by our partners – The Sonoran Institute, LightHawk and Pro Natura along with the city of Mexicali and several state agencies. Sometimes just writing a check is not enough to get the right things going.
And our initial work in the Kimberley in Western Australia is a great example of the combination of a massive ecosystem, indigenous people, ecotourism, wildlife beyond description and $100B in oil, gas, coal and diamonds in the ground. The conflict over community, culture and heritage trumps the environmental issues for much of the population. The challenge of finding a path forward is something we relish. Our interests in technology and documentary film coupled with citizen science and social media give us an opportunity to both fund and work with the different groups searching for the right way to make decisions.
Running a family foundation is a real challenge with no staff, limited funds and a few volunteers. But we are committed to finding the right partners, the right places and problems where we can bring to bear our expertise, money and energy to help solve pressing human culture conservation issues. While we do not accept unsolicited grants, we are always open to big ideas from people with the vision and energy to throw them at us for consideration. You decide that and let us know.
J Thomas McMurray
11-20-2012 Jackson, Wyoming
Marine Ventures Foundation
PO Box 30000 PMB 61
Jackson Hole, WY 83002