We speak with Courtney Quirin, whose film, Guardian, won the JURY PRIZE for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE at this year’s SF IndieFest. Guardian will be screened at the Mendocino Film Festival this Saturday, June 1 at 5:30 in Crown Hall. It has been described as a cautionary tale about the role of science in environmental decision-making and the repercussions of its censorship. But that is totally inadequate to describe the human focus, the magnificent cinematography and the emotional impact the film has.
Courtney Quirin’s background includes a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management from U of Otago in New Zealand, which included going to the highlands of Ethiopia to identify the nature and extent of farmer-primate conflict. Then, on to Ohio State U. to investigate urban coyotes for her PhD, but just shy of 2 years into that degree, she realized that her true passions lie within documentary film and investigative journalism. So she earned her Master’s in Journalism and Documentary Film from the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported for the Associated Press in South Africa, Al Jazeera, Bay Nature Magazine and Mission Local in California.
Doug Stewart has been a Guardian in the Great Bear Rainforest since 1977, living on the Surfbird with his wife, Carol, & monitoring over 129 creeks & streams.
After Doug, Stan Hutchings is the 2nd oldest Guardian. He began as a teenager in 1979.
After the interview with Courtney, we reported on the US Navy’s proposed Training & Testing, reading a PSA from Thaïs Mazur:
The Navy is seeking Federal Regulatory Permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to do weapons testing off the Mendocino coast, requesting a seven year permit to do the testing and training 12 miles offshore.
This is part of the larger Northwest Navy Training and Testing from Alaska to Northern California. The coast of Mendocino is a major migration route for gray whales and humpbacks.
The Navy is proposing activities that include anti-submarine warfare exercises involving tracking aircraft and sonar; surface-to-air gunnery and missile exercises; air-to-surface bombing exercises; and extensive testing for several new weapons systems.
U.S. Navy training exercises in the Pacific Ocean could kill, injure, or harm dozens of protected species of marine mammals — Southern Resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises — through the use of high-intensity, mid-frequency sonar, which harass whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, 12.5 million times over the next five years. The use of sonar has been directly connected to many instances of beached whales, that have died from erupting lungs, ruptured ear drums and organ damage after military sonar exercises. Sonar exercises have also been found to cause mass strandings of whales.
The Navy is accepting comments on the DRAFT Supplemental EIS through June 12, 2019. Here is the link:
All photos credited to Courtney Quirin