My name is Kate Hildenbrand. I’m a marine ecologist, conservation filmmaker, and photographer. My goal is to create a space where normal humans can learn about this stunningly beautiful and wondrous planet, to understand and see the beauty, and to feel like they can make a difference.
I used to call fish ugly and disgusting because I knew nothing about them. I’d only seen them dead. Becoming a SCUBA diver changed my life forever. Dipping underneath the surface opened up a new world to me, a world that has had me in its grip since. I saw, first-hand, the effects of humans interacting with nature: plastic at the bottom of the ocean, a fishing line and weight hanging from the lip of a giant sea bass that was bigger than my husband, and sargassum seaweed displacing giant kelp forests around Catalina island.
But, I’ve also seen a species of sea stars return after they were believed to have vanished from the area, divers working together to relieve the sea bass from his plight. I’ve played with sea lions at one of their rookeries, searched for octopuses in their clever dens, and floated speechless in front of anemone-covered reefs. I will never forget the day a fin whale swam past our boat on the way to a dive site.
How could I encounter the majestic beauty of such a large animal and not want to save it? How could I see fish spawn, hatch, and grow without appreciating them as living being with moods and characters? Seeing nature, really seeing it, has changed my life. The more I learn about nature—above and below the waves—the more I want to defend it, fight for it.
Alongside community, knowledge will be what saves humanity from itself and from destroying their home. I believe that opening people’s eyes to all the astonishing creatures on this planet, making them see them the way I learned to see them, will make people care. So I set out to share what I know, to spread the beauty and wonder of this blue planet.