My fascination with the underwater world started with either Dr. Seuss's book McElligot's Pool or the first time I saw the colors of a rainbow trout in my hands. As a kid, working on a family friend's farm, I learned the value of habitat restoration and good land stewardship. As a biologist and owner of Stoecker Ecological, as director of Beyond Searsville Dam, and as a writer and photographer, I focus on restoring watersheds and revealing the beauty and resiliency of wildlife on our shared planet. Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard and I hatched the idea for DamNation at the 2011 Wild and Scenic Film Festival.
I never planned on becoming a filmmaker. Storytelling ran in my family and it soaked in throughout my childhood. There was nothing formal about it. Ben Knight and I met while working as still photographers at the local paper in Telluride. After witnessing the power of film to inspire and affect change at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, we decided on a partnership to create documentaries we believe in; Felt Soul Media was born.
Hi, here's a list of a few of my good and bad personality traits, because I hate writing bios in first person:
I believe in the power of stories, in all mediums, to move people. Stories allow us to connect with other people, places and causes, and it's because of this idea that I have built my life around sharing stories that matter—taking a story and broadcasting it, reaching as many people as possible. Dams aren't something you immediately think of as a prime character for an intriguing story. They're essentially just concrete walls. But when the opportunity arose to work on DamNation, I knew that there had to be a way to turn them into something that people talk and think about. How do we spread the story of dams, their removal, the impact on fish, and the cultural ramifications to the masses? That is what excites me. I get to work with some of the most talented and creative storytellers, something that keeps me motivated to keep doing what I do.