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This Land Is Part Of Us


This Land Is Part Of Us introduces the allure and importance of central Washington’s shrub-steppe ecosystem through stunning visuals and the voices of residents with deep roots in the region. Often mistaken for desert, the shrub-steppe is a land of rich biodiversity, vibrant communities, and poignant beauty. It is a place worthy of wide recognition but increasingly at risk.

Produced by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife in partnership with Conservation Northwest, the title translates a phrase from the language of the Indigenous people of the Columbia Plateau. This Land Is Part Of Us explores the northern end of the great “Sagebrush Sea” that once sprawled across much of the American West. It spotlights growing partnerships between government agencies, Native American tribes, conservation organizations, local landowners, and others who seek to preserve and restore shrub-steppe ecosystems while supporting cultural and economic values.

The film showcases why this region is so special while documenting recovery programs for species such as sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, sharp-tailed grouse, and pronghorn antelope, all threatened by severe wildfires and habitat fragmentation. For wildlife lovers, hunters and anglers, Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers, outdoor recreationists, and so many others, this land is no desert devoid of life, This Land is Part of Us.

  • Ted Grudowski
    Cascade Crossroads, Eventually They Melt
  • Darrin Gunkel
  • Scott Downes
  • Elizabeth Torrey
  • Mark Teske
  • Chase Gunnell
  • Jay Kehne
    Key Cast
  • Emily Washines
    Key Cast
  • Michael Schroeder
    Key Cast
  • Molly Linville
    Key Cast
  • Rachel Blomker
    Public Relations
  • Dave Gross
    Audio Post Production
  • Matt Johnson
    Drone Operator
    Cascade Crossroads
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    9,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
    Rights: All Rights
  • Conservation Northwest
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Ted Grudowski

A five-time Telly Award winner, Ted Grudowski is a video professional of nearly twenty years, based in Seattle. His first conservation-oriented film, 2018's Cascade Crossroads, won Gold and Bronze Telly Awards, a regional Emmy Award nomination, and screened in eleven film festivals in the US and internationally. With a deep love of the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, Ted has created an extensive archive of footage from across the region. Formerly a Senior Producer at MSN.com/Microsoft, he directed a small business news series for three years, and covered events such as the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammy Awards until forming his own production company in 2014. Clients include Microsoft, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Northwest, Washington State Department of Transportation, Columbia Bank, Seattle Children's Hospital, Lamborghini, and University of Washington. His experimental 3-D film "Eventually They Melt" played in the Los Angeles 3-D Movie Festival in 2016 and the Moscow Film Festival in 2019.

Gold Telly Award winner Darrin Gunkel’s career has spanned broadcast, non-profits, and publishing. He’s been writing about the environment, science, and social issues for 25 years, beginning as a reporter for Seattle’s NPR affiliate, KOUW, and most recently as a writer/educator for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Print writing and editing credits include works for reference publisher Gale and The Mazama Bulletin, the magazine of the country’s third oldest climbing organization, Portland-based Mazamas. Non-profit work includes communications for Seattle organizations Fuse Washington, Toxic Free Future, and Crisis Connection. Darrin has been collaborating with Ted Grudowski on commercial and non-profit videos since 2018.

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Director Statement

This Land Is Part Of Us is a special film about a special region of Washington State, that upon release became one of the highest performers on the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife YouTube channel. The team behind the film is equally special, bringing great passion and advocacy for this often overlooked ecosystem, and it was a labor of love for us all. My filmmaking partner Darrin Gunkel and I have spent many days over the years exploring the rolling hills and basalt coulees. Our production team, Scott Downes, Elizabeth Torrey, and Mark Teske from WDFW Region 3, and Chase Gunnell and Conservation Northwest have long history in and work tirelessly to protect the flora and fauna of this landscape. Our publicist Rachel Blomker brings laser focus to getting our message before the eyes of the public. And our interviewees Emily Washines, Molly Linville, Michael Schroeder, Jay Kehne, and Jon Gallie have roots in the soil deeper than the yellow-flowered arrowleaf balsamroot that beautifies the land in spring. Many others were also instrumental in bringing this vision of the shrub-steppe to life. Because of the efforts and passion of all these people, I have hope that the shrub-steppe can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.