In a world increasingly dominated by humans, three teams of determined conservationists go to extraordinary lengths to save three threatened species in the American heartland. Stunningly photographed in the Grand Canyon and on the American prairie, The Nature Makers follows biologists who’ve deployed helicopters, giant bulldozers and a host of human tools in order to defend nature.
On the Platte River in Nebraska, Brice Krohn leads a team of biologists to scour the river with heavy machinery in order to perform functions that used to be carried out naturally by spring floods in order to maintain a river landscape that can continue to support Sandhill Crane migration as it has for hundreds of thousands of years.
Deep in the Grand Canyon, Brian Healy leads a team of biologists to load the humpback chub, an endangered fish, into barrels and fly them by helicopter into remote tributaries of the Colorado River in a last ditch effort to repopulate them into their native streams lest the species go extinct.
When alerted to an endangered colony of prairie dogs, whose numbers have been greatly reduced due to decades of organized poisonings and intensive land development, Lindsey Sterling Krank leads a team to use construction equipment and industrial tubing to build artificial burrows to rescue them from a gruesome death.
In the 21st century, defending the wild often paradoxically requires technology and aggressive human intervention. The Nature Makers is a moving portrait of passionate people and the extraordinary creatures whose existence they fight for. The film is a story of how we found ourselves on the brink of losing so much of the natural world, yet it charts an optimistic, though unmistakably challenging, path forward.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "These biologists work heroically, and pretty much thanklessly, often in remote and physically challenging environments, but their efforts are actually paying off. Their work shows that humans can indeed have a profound impact on natural systems, and not all of it is destructive. Aggressive human intervention can be restorative, though admittedly success is almost always tentative and fragile. Welcome to conservation in the age of humans. In the end, I hope this film provokes the audience to reexamine their preconceived ideas about humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Making this film certainly caused me to reexamine mine."
— Scott Saunders