Filmaker, underwater explorer and self-effacing West Seattle advocate Laura James has won a 2015 Emmy Award in Environmental Feature / Segment.
I have environmental stories about Puget Sound that once heard, can help make a positive difference
The award was presented on June 6 for her underwater video work on Solving the Mystery of Dying Starfish produced by KCTS9's Katie Campbell and edited by Michael Werner. (We reported on the Sick Starfish syndrome in March 2014, page 5).
This is Laura’s second Emmy. She won her first Emmy in June 2014 in the Health / Science Feature / Segment category for 'Sea Otters v. Climate Change' produced by Michael Werner for Quest PBS.
“It was wonderful to see the team recognised for their continued excellence in the field of environmental reporting," stated Laura James. "This was my third year attending the Emmy's and second year taking home an award for my contribution to a great story. The starfish story is special to me because I was directly involved in the event; documenting and helping build a citizen science reporting website related to the crisis. It really felt personal. This Emmy feels very well earned as we were up against several other brilliant stories in this tough category."
Laura’s self imposed mission is to share the undersea world of Puget Sound in such a way that people discover what is going on beneath the waves, and learn to love and protect the Sound as much as she does.
She has spent the past two years building a curriculum extension 'Know What's Below'. This project has been developed from the ground up with the mission of inspiring, connecting, preserving, and protecting our underwater world. She uses multi-media, narrated video shorts, OpenROV builds with students, and presenting about the amazing marine ecosystem around the Pacific Northwest to deliver the program.
Laura James has been contributing to local media stories for the past decade and sharing the underwater world with divers and non-divers alike. She is also the director of www.tox-ick.org, a grass roots storm water education program dedicated to helping reduce the flow of polluted runoff into Puget Sound.
"I want to shoot stories that connect with non-divers, that bring them along, without spoon-feeding or dumbing down the content. Jacques Cousteau brought diving stories into our living room. He invited us to join him on a grand undersea adventure. I don’t have grand undersea adventures, I have environmental stories about Puget Sound that once heard, can help make a positive difference.
Probably the most amazing part about ‘Solving the Mystery of Dying Starfish’ is that it inspired Congressman Danny Heck to write a Bill after he had seen the footage. For me that makes the process of ’tilting at windmills’ worth doing.”