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GFDD Hosts Discussion on Environmental Activism and Journalism In Its Washington, D.C. Offices

March 20, 2018

Washington, D.C. – In addition to the successful Dominican Night at the D.C. Environmental Film Festival, where Dominican filmmakers presented two documentaries on Dominican conservation efforts, on Tuesday, March 20, the GFDD and DREFF hosted a special side event on “Environmental Journalism and Activism:  Creating and Sharing the Frontline Stories.”  The event was held at the GFDD-DC offices, and moderated by Natasha Despotovic, the Foundation’s Executive Director and DREFF Director.

The event featured Dominican nature photographer and activist Eladio Fernández, Guatemalan-Dominican photojournalist Marvin del Cid, and Dominican biologist Omar Shamir Reynoso.  All shared their personal experiences with international filmmakers, journalists, activists and experts from all over the world who attended the event.

All highlighted their experiences as nature advocates and journalists who cover environmental-related issues in the Dominican Republic.  All mentioned the power of social media, films, books and other media tools to create more awareness on environmental issues and promote positive change.

Originally from Guatemala, Marvin del Cid holds a degree in Communication Sciences and has extensive experience in visual and multimedia projects.  He has worked for several media outlets in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.  Currently, he is an editor at the Diario Libre media group in the D.R.

He has featured his photographs in multiple exhibitions, both individual and in group exhibits.  He has won various awards for his photographic work in the D.R. and abroad, and received a Special Mention in the Dominican-based “Epifanio Lantigua Tourism Award” in 2013 for his work regarding Dominican treasures. During 2014-2017 he was also honored with this award in the Sustainable Tourism category.   He also received the EWEA (Europe) Photography Award, specifically in the Americas category.

He recently directed the film “Biodiversity in the Dominican Republic,” and is a member of the Advisory Committee of the DREFF.

An award-winning environmental photographer, Fernández is an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers.  Born in the Dominican Republic, he has spent the last 25 years documenting the country’s flora and fauna, as well as the disappearing landscapes of the Greater Antilles.  His work extends beyond simple documentation as he has contributed to the recovery of various species of fauna and flora of the country and the region.

His project on the Aristolochia in Haiti is his first effort to produce and direct a short documentary aimed specifically for audiences that may not be familiar with conservation photography and with rare groups of plants.  Fernández is also a member of the DREFF’s Adsivory Committee.

A Dominican biologist, he has dedicated his career to the protection of species and the promotion of environmental sustainability. He previously headed the GFDD/DREFF Environmental Program, worked for the Dominican Mnistry of the Environment and is currently working for the country’s marine authorities.

His most innovative environmental project was to implement a program that would bring together fishermen from a low-income community in the outskirts of Santo Domingo who were previous sea turtle predators and transform them into full-fledged conservationists.

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