It’s finally ready! After nearly a year of shooting and editing, I completed my newest short documentary – The Count: Conserving Long Island’s Horseshoe Crabs. I interviewed several researchers and citizen scientists working to collect data surveying the horseshoe crab population on Long Island – at a critical time when the Red Knot shorebird (who depend on horseshoe crab eggs for food) were recently added to the federal endangered species list. I really enjoyed working on this film – shooting in my new backyard on the Long Island Sound, meeting many wonderful people working to make sure Long Island’s waterways remain living and thriving, and filming wildlife for the first time. Watch the film below and learn more here.
I’ve started a new video project with Coastal Steward on their shellfish restoration program. Last weekend I began shooting as volunteers pulled oyster cages from deeper waters. At this stage, the oysters are almost fully grown. They need to be cleaned and sorted and will soon be planted in the harbor.
This is an excerpt of an interview I shot with David Chase, a former commercial fisherman and marine sciences teacher. David also the Educational Programs Director of Coastal Steward. He is the site coordinator for the Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey at Mt. Sinai Harbor.
This is a beautiful new video from Show.Love profiling the last baymen who scuba dive to hand pick oysters from the bottom of Long Island’s waters, which are then sold locally in and around New York City. (Show.Love also made this video I love a couple years ago about Sackets Harbor Brewing Co. on Lake Ontario in Upstate NY)
Last month I spent International Coastal Cleanup Day with Coastal Steward on the Long Island Sound. Over 20 years ago Coastal Steward founders were diving in Port Jefferson Harbor and discovered that marine debris and trash were piling up. They started a group to do beach cleanups and today have expanded the organization into four additional programs, including shellfish restoration, osprey platforms, fish tagging, and marine science education. My favorite part of working on this project was the opportunity to help protect the beaches and coastal areas where I spend so much of my time.
Last weekend I started production on my new video project about horseshoe crabs on Long Island. I went out with researchers and students from Cornell Cooperative Extension to count and tag horseshoe crabs that came ashore to spawn. The data collected is sent on to the NYS DEC to assess the status of horseshoe crab populations in New York’s Marine District. The program in New York is very similar to programs in other states up and down the Eastern Seaboard that were put in place after it was discovered that horseshoe crab numbers were significantly declining. The census data collected is the first of its kind, relatively little is known about horseshoe crab numbers despite their 450 million year existence. And it is largely a volunteer effort – which I think is the most interesting of all – communities along the East Coast have really come together to save this species. Here’s a quick edit I put together. More to come!
It’s the end of spawning season for horseshoe crabs and they were out in full force over the weekend at our spot on Cedar Beach. Usually they gather on the beach at night, but there were a few stragglers out until late morning. Horseshoe crabs are considered living fossils, having evolved over 400 million years ago. They live in Long Island waters, both in the Sound and the ocean bays. They are used by fishermen as bait and are vital to human health – their blue blood has a unique bacteria fighting ability which is used by pharmaceutical and biomedical industries for important medical research and testing (NY DEC).
I took my GoPro into the water and shot some photos and video. They are incredibly fast crawlers underwater and I had a bit of a hard time keeping up with them. I’m also still working on my GoPro skills and trying to avoid shaky shots in the rocky waves. (Eric Seals from the Detroit Free Press has great examples of underwater GoPro shooting.)
This weekend we were out on Long Island again and headed to our spot at Cedar Beach. On Saturday it was windy and the water was rough, which is generally unusual for the Sound, and I was able to get some decent shots of the waves. It was chilly so there weren’t very many people around, meaning there were lots of birds out on the trail and I even came across a deer. Eventually a storm came in from the east and we had to take off. Sunday it was much nicer and the water was glassy and calm.