You all know, no matter how well we are acquainted, that I am obsessed with wildlife and the outdoors. I have been a student of wildlife since I was in my single digits in the 70s, splashing around swamps and creeks in Florida. Add to this my training by great faculty, colleagues, and students (I have learned a great deal from students, both my fellow undergraduate and graduate students and my past and present students) and the result is 20/20 wildlife vision. I see things in the outdoors that people less practiced may miss. Amazing events, wondrous sights, and chance encounters are pretty common occurrences for me.
I believe that everyone would be conservation oriented if they could see and understand the natural world like I do (and of course my many colleagues, both professional and amateur, who are similarly afflicted). I have been educating others about wildlife as long as I have had an interest in the outdoors. My partner in this endeavor and the second member of our team of two is Jessie, an artist and former art major turned wildlifer. Jessie is as responsible for this announcement as am I. My first discussion of my interest in using quality HD video in wildlife education found me listening to Jessie tell me how we weren’t going to do this half-way, we were going to do the best possible job we could with the resources at hand (Thanks Dr. Spaulding for the resources!) and it was quite clear that it was her way or the highway. She has donated an incredible amount of time and effort to this endeavor over the last 12 months, commonly working 90 hours a week in the field, working on equipment, editing video and keeping this absent-minded professor on track as best anyone could.
Our news is that KACV, Amarillo’s PBS station, has asked us to film, write and appear in a series on the southern Great Plains focusing on the wildlife found in this region. We sent them a 9-minute montage and they arranged a meeting and suggested the series. We expected to have to beg to get them to air a single documentary. I wonder if they saw the surprise on our faces when they suggested a series. I have research experience in short and tallgrass prairies and am chomping at the bit to be able to immerse myself in the prairie to create this series.
We will make a 12 part series focusing on many amazing species and visiting lots of spectacular locations. We have begun filming for the series and will continue our weekly segment “West Texas Wild” on Channel 10’s Early Show in Amarillo. In addition to the series, we will film and produce short 90 second station breaks for KACV with the intent of distributing these state-wide (we hope the series will be used regionally or nationally). All we have to do is raise funds to pay for travel and supplies, find a camper to use as living quarters and a mobile office, and learn to make a TV series….Yikes. And quite possibly the greatest challenge will be actually appearing in our videos as the personalities….Double yikes. We are definitely characters but we haven’t quite figured out how to plug ourselves into the series. I think we will just be ourselves, but with less cursing (we are making a family show).
Soon you will be able to view updates, outtakes, sample video and audio, and track our progress, travels and setbacks on our blog (buffsgonewild.com). Please share this as widely as you can – hits, followers, comments, etc. will help in our fundraising efforts. Any suggestions for fundraising would be appreciated and all donations will be tax deductible and go directly to support this and similar efforts we are undertaking through student salary, travel, supplies and equipment and the like. Wish us luck!
Updates will follow as regularly as we can. I headed with a group of students for Colorado so access will be limited.