Yvonne Wins Trebek Initiative Grant

We are thrilled to share that we have been awarded a Trebek Initiative grant. The grant, which is a joint program between the Royal Canadian Geographic and National Geographic Societies, funds emerging storytellers and conservationists to “ignite the passion to preserve across Canada.” With our Trebek Initiative grant, we will put our new ROV (underwater drone) to the test – pushing the limits of underwater videography to explore the Great Lakes at all different depths and seasons, in a way no one has before. The focus of our filming will be to both document the degradation of our Great Lakes by the quagga mussel and introduce viewers to the amazing aquatic organisms and environments that are at stake. 

With the footage, we’ll create an experimental, underwater-only short film that will immerse viewers in the aquatic world that we’re calling “Beneath the Surface.” The film will begin by exploring pristine habitats, where we’ll spend time with aquatic life of all kinds. We’ll also experience the lakes’ many moods and seasons – watching the world transform under the ice and back again. As we move into degraded environments, we’ll notice the absence of aquatic life more and more. We’ll begin to play with pacing, colour, and sound as the devastating impact of the mussel invasion becomes clear. But “Beneath the Surface” is not all doom and gloom – right now, there are reasons to hope. Some native species have begun adapting to their new environments and are showing signs of recovery, while the conditions for other fishes to be restored are better than ever before. We’ll leave viewers with a feeling of possibility – that with enough support, we can breathe life back into the depths.

The footage will have a second life as part of our full-length documentary, “All Too Clear.” The film will focus on the quagga crisis, the solutions being explored to manage the invaders, and the restoration efforts underway to bring back native species to the lakes. “All Too Clear” will be a big-idea, big-impact film that takes us aboard the boats of fishers whose lives are being directly affected by declining fish, before diving beneath the waves with the world’s leading Great Lakes scientists to research the unprecedented changes unfolding in our largest freshwater lake system. Part scientific exploration, part natural history adventure, “All Too Clear” will combine footage from our Trebek Initiative grant, with the stories of those tackling the seemingly insurmountable quagga problem.

Learn more about the Trebek Initiative here: https://www.trebekinitiative.com/

Find Yvonne on the Grantees page: https://www.trebekinitiative.com/grantees