UCLA’s Lab for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) and TV station KCET-Link, has launched a yearlong collaboration in an effort to report environmental issues through short documentaries and essays. Co-founder of LENS, Professor Ursula K Heise has written and produced a short documentary with the help of faculty and graduate students from the Department of Film, titled “Urban Ark Los Angeles.”

The eleven-minute-long documentary showcases the red-crowned parrots of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, a species that’s endangered in its original Mexican habitat because of the pet trade and deforestation but is now thriving in Los Angeles. Their success is opening up new possibilities for thinking and telling stories about the conservation of endangered species in urban spaces. 

“Urban Ark Los Angeles” is being accompanied by a lead essay that she wrote and six essays by UCLA graduate students, including three from the Department of English: Comfort Azubuko, Robin Kello, and Spencer Robins. The documentary has already been picked up by four other web news outlets, including Wired.com and Mother Jones. This documentary was created in hopes of illuminating UCLA’s effort of connecting the humanities and environment at UCLA. 

To view the documentary and essays, please click here.