A desert ecology trip with Terry Marsh, professor of biology and Harold and Eva White Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts Emeritus, continues to inspire Susan Clark ’95 David. She and her husband Jim last year produced two videos about preserving the desert environment. Their work for the Desert Foothills Land Trust in Phoenix was recognized with two regional Emmy Awards and five Telly Awards.
“We did a five-minute piece, more documentary in style, that won the Emmy Awards,” she said. “A shorter one-minute piece was designed for social media.”
David’s role with the films centered around writing and production. The pair is now collaborating on video projects since she left her corporate position in 2015 to join Jim David Photography.
The couple has lived in Phoenix since 2009 and they care deeply about land conservation in a rapidly developing area. “This is an amazing and beautiful landscape and the Desert Foothills Land Trust is doing good work to protect properties that are real jewels before they are lost to development,” she said. “It was great to tell this story in a way that would inspire people to get involved.”
The films were viewed more than 15,000 times on social media and the organization saw a 30 percent increase in donations over the previous year.
The process of pursuing the awards was stressful but rewarding. “When we went from Emmy applicant to nominee, we were ecstatic,” she said. They won the top awards in two categories: Photographer-Short Form and Environment-Program Feature/Segment.
At North Central, David pursued environmental studies, English and Spanish. “My introduction to the desert landscape was through Dr. Marsh’s desert ecology class, which had us backpacking and studying the environment from the border with Mexico up to the Grand Canyon.”
David has spent most of her career in communications across the environmental field, primarily for recycling/resource management companies and a land conservation organization. “Desert Foothills Land Trust was on my radar as soon as we moved to Phoenix,” she explained. ”Working on these films allowed me to tap into my own support for this mission.”