This week we were able to Skype with Dr. Hilary Swain, Archbold Biological Station’s Executive Director of Expeditions and the station’s Senior Research Biologist. Dr. Swain along with her staff of 50 are involved in long-term research, environmental monitoring, science education for students and the public, as well as land management and conservation programs.
Dr. Swain has held her position at Archbold since 1995, so due to her 22 years of experience at the station and her biological expertise, we’ve kept in contact with her throughout the entire pre-production process. Our Skype session was actually scheduled weeks ago, so all 10 of us (including our instructor, Dr. Luskay) had prepared at least several questions each to ask Dr. Swain. This along with Dr. Swain’s eagerness resulted in an informational Skype session where we learned everything from what we should bring with us to Florida and what to expect at Archbold, to Dr. Swain’s take on the Floridian educational system and how the generational divide impacts environmental awareness.
The image below links to a short video in which you’ll see Dr. Swain’s response to a question from one of our grad students when he asked her about how Archbold may handle conflict with local residents.
After the Skype session we spent some time processing all we’d learned and brainstorming ideas for our documentary’s story. We don’t want to share TOO much and spoil any surprises, but we think our talk with Dr. Swain may have given us our title already, and we made huge progress with developing an idea for our story and think we know what direction we’re going with this year’s documentary.
With only 16 days left until we all head down to Florida, this kind of progress is largely helpful. We’re all so grateful Dr. Swain set aside that time for us and look forward to working with her and the rest of the Archbold staff.