Gaviota: The End of Southern California

The Cate community went on a field trip during Monday’s convocation. Filmmakers Shaw Leonard and Tamlorn Chase screened their documentary “Gaviota: The End of Southern California” to a rapt audience. A six-year labor of love, the film covers all of the habitats on the Gaviota Coast, a 76-mile stretch of largely undeveloped wilderness in Santa Barbara County. The area is a global hotspot for biodiversity, and students were treated to the sight of many of the coast’s endangered species in their local habitats. From the snowy plover in the estuary to the mountain lion in the riparian forest, from the eight-foot Humboldt lily blooming in the chaparral to the great egret hunting in the kelp canopy offshore, Leonard and Chase captured striking moments of natural beauty.  During the question and answer period after the film, the students were especially interested in how the pair managed to film in the backcountry and they heard tales of humping 90 pounds of gear upstream, extreme patience, and nasty bouts of poison oak, all in service to helping preserve such a striking and vulnerable habitat that is the Mesa’s neighbor.


Filmmakers Shaw
Leonard and Tamlorn Chase speak with students following the screening.