Available for virtual visits in : Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories & Quebec
Home Province: British Columbia
Craft: Author/Conservation Photographer/Filmmaker
Genre: Nature/Conservation based non-fiction books
Target Audience: Ages 8 – 16
Cost for School and Public Virtual Workshop Program with CCBC subsidy: $200.00, plus applicable taxes
Virtual Workshop Information
Isabelle’s presentations focus on wildlife conservation and the relationships between people and the natural world, with a special emphasis on the actions that we can take to create positive change for the planet in the context of growing pressures on the environment and the extinction crisis. Isabelle’s presentations are compelling and engaging, and offer a mix of storytelling, stunning visuals, and film clips. Isabelle’s background as a writer, photojournalist and filmmaker greatly enhances her presentations as she shares personal stories from working in the field alongside conservationists and scientists to inspire and educate students of all ages. Isabelle also shares insights about her unique creative process that combines photography and words to tell conservation stories and discusses the ethics of photography in the wild and the use of storytelling techniques for inspiring change. While the books target the 9 to 12 age group, presentations can be adapted for different grades, from Grade 3 to 12. Presentations can be delivered in English and French
Option #1-WILDLIFE’S BEST FRIENDS: DOGS WORKING FOR CONSERVATION
Based on Isabelle’s latest book, Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment, this engaging, highly interactive and fun presentation combines stories, photos, and video clips and explores how dogs are lending their paws and noses to fix some of the most complex environmental problems on the planet. They track elusive species, help enforce wildlife protection laws and assist in controlling invasive species. They also protect livestock against predator attacks and promote human-wildlife coexistence.
Topics covered include:
- What kind of dogs does it take to help wildlife? We will discuss dogs’ sense of smell, hardworking and high energy temperament, ability to bond and communicate with humans.
- Where do the dogs come from and how are they trained? How is conservation giving a second chance to shelter dogs?
- Who are the people who work with these special dogs? What is the daily life of a dog handler like?
- What do conservation canines do exactly and how do they do it?
- How do conservation canines make a difference and why does this matter?
- Can your dog become a conservation canine?
- Behind the scenes: In addition to writing the book, Isabelle has also done all the photography included in the book. Discover the personal stories of following high-energy dogs in the field and the challenges of photographing conservation canines. For secondary students: how to combine photography and words effectively to tell a conservation story? What is the creative process involved?
Why the topic matters : Dogs are part of many children’s lives, and this presentation which contains lots of information on the animal-human bond and how canine noses work can inspire children and youth to look at the dogs in their own lives with renewed curiosity and compassion. The individual stories of the dogs helping wildlife are also an opportunity to learn more about complex environmental issues, including species trafficking, human-wildlife conflicts, or invasive species. The presentation conveys a message of hope, showcasing practical steps people are taking to create positive change for the planet. Following the lead of the four-legged heroes portrayed in the book, pet owners may be inspired to unleash their dogs’ scent-detection skills at home and may even partner in citizen science projects that help the planet. We can all be involved in making a difference, and there is so much we can learn from our canine friends
Option # 2- SEA OTTERS: A SURVIVAL STORY
Based on Isabelle’s book, Sea Otters: A Survival Story, this engaging and visual presentation takes audiences on a tale of survival and transformation, is filled with field anecdotes, solidly anchored in science, and richly illustrated with Isabelle’s own photographs. Drawing from Isabelle’s journey in sea otter country along the Pacific Coast over a period of ten years, the presentation explores the otters’ unique lifestyle, their remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction, and how they leave their mark (or pawprint) on the environment, in obvious and subtle ways. Hunted to near extinction for their fur during the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters are returning to their territories from California to Alaska, through dedicated conservation efforts. They symbolize the large impact — both positive and negative — that humans can have on wildlife. They now have also unleashed their great ecological powers and have become one of the best examples of a keystone species.
Topics covered include:
- What makes sea otters unique? We discuss their biology, adaptations, behaviours and what they are not (river otters!).
- Sea otters, one of the few mammals to use tools: how does this work?
- Their appetite: the foundation of the sea otters’ role as the keystone species: how are they transforming ecosystems and how are scientists learning about them?
- How can we protect sea otters and what can we learn from their story?
- Behind the scenes: In addition to writing the book, Isabelle has also done all the photography included in the book. Learn what it takes to capture photos of various sea otter behaviours and to illustrate their diverse impacts on the ecosystem. For secondary students: how to combine photography and words effectively to tell a conservation story? What is the creative process involved? Learn about the importance of ethical wildlife photography and non-disturbance to animals.
Why this topic matters: This presentation provides a unique opportunity to educate children and youth about the fact that everything in the ecosystem is connected, how a top predator such as the sea otter plays a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and why we should conserve predators in the environment. The presentation aims to encourage children and youth to be out in the field exploring the natural world and to foster their critical thinking, scientific literacy, and personal engagement. Lastly, the presentation seeks to leave young people with the hope that efforts to conserve our oceans can make a difference and provides them with specific examples of the actions they can take to help protect sea otters and marine ecosystems in general.
OPTION #3 – ACT FOR THE WILD: CONSERVATION CLOSE TO HOME
Wildlife conservation starts on our doorstep. You don’t have to travel to the most remote corners of the earth to engage with wildlife. Any step you can take to protect habitat and wildlife close to home makes a difference and helps create global impact. Combining stories, photographs and short film clips, this talk presents the “how” and “why” of endangered species around the world, what people are doing to conserve them, and what children can do on their own and with their families to reduce their impact, engage with the wild, and take steps to protect habitat and wildlife close to home.
Topics covered include:
- What do you know about endangered species in your area?
- Why are species threatened?
- What do people do to save endangered species?
- What can you do to help?
- How can photography, filmmaking, art, and storytelling give a voice to under-appreciated wildlife and motivate people to take action?
- Behind the scenes: In addition to writing the book, Isabelle has also done all the photography included in the book. Learn what it takes to capture photos of endangered wildlife, how the author works with scientists in the field and adapts to different types of environments. For secondary students: how to combine photography and words effectively to tell a conservation story? What is the creative process involved? Learn about the importance of ethical wildlife photography and non-disturbance to animals.
Why this topic matters: Bombarded with headlines about dramatic ecological changes, many children today are anxious about climate change and the future survival of animals—and people—on this planet. This presentation not only educates children about wildlife extinction, but also proposes concrete actions that empower and not overwhelm children so that they can locally contribute to global conservation, one step at the time.
Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment, Orca Book Publishers (September 2021);
Sea Otters: A Survival Story, Orca Book Publishers (April 2020);
Gone is Gone: Wildlife under Threat, Orca Books Publishers (September 2019);
Gentle Giants: An Emotional Face to Face with Dolphins and Whales, White Star (2011).
ISABELLE GROC is an award-winning writer, conservation photographer, book author, documentary filmmaker, and speaker. With master degrees in journalism from Columbia University and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she brings a unique perspective to documenting the impacts of human activities on threatened species and habitats. Her photography and stories have been published in magazines and news outlets all over the world. Isabelle has written and directed a dozen films on wildlife and nature. Her feature documentary, Toad People, has received international recognition including an Impact Panda Award at the Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, UK, the world’s biggest festival of natural history storytelling. Isabelle is a fellow of the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Societies of Canada and the UK. She grew up in France and now lives in Vancouver and Salt Spring, B.C.