The Production Team
All the members of this highly experienced group have achieved top marks in their fields, and each shares a deep passion for the environment and sustainability. They bring their talents and expertise together to create EKOS Communications, Inc., an innovative company that models how media can engage and empower the public, communities and stakeholders to take effective action, especially when combined with state of the art educational processes.
Rick is no stranger to public engagement and outreach. About 35 years ago, he began his career in this field as a national parks interpreter. In the mid-1980s, he completed a masters of arts in geography with a focus on land use planning, public participation and conflict resolution as they pertain to wilderness preservation and forestry. Upon graduation, he commenced a consultancy which provided a range of services, including public outreach and group process facilitation. Clients included BC Parks, Capital Regional District Parks, Parks Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ditidaht First Nation, and Islands Trust Fund.
About the same time, he began to write articles on environmental issues and sustainability which were freelanced to magazines in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Europe. This experience drew opportunities to work with independent documentary producers and eventually to co-produce a documentary on land stewardship. As well, he produced and hosted two radio programs. In 2000, his book "Phantom Parks: The Struggle to Save Canada's National Parks" was published which sold out within a couple of years. A little more than a year after its publication, he accepted a position as environmental specialist with the former New VI television station (now, the A-Channel) in Victoria, BC. While there, he co-hosted Enviro-Mental! - a weekly half-hour magazine format program.
A few years later, in 2005, Rick and his team launched ekostv.com - an attempt at being Canada's first independent new media channel. Unable to find a sustainable business model to support it, Rick re-visioned ekostv as EKOS Communications, Inc. in 2007 with a focus on providing services on a contract basis in the field of environmental education and communication for the likes of Parks Canada, BC Parks, Natural Resources Canada, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Metro Vancouver, and Union of BC Municipalities.
In Sept. 2009, he accepted a four year renewable employment contract with Ocean Networks Canada, an organization created by the University of Victoria to manage VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada ocean observatories.
Starr Munro — Creative Director/Writer
A true media generalist, skilled in writing and video production, design and photography, Starr takes a cutting edge approach to the integration of new media. Armed with a passion for nature and creative learning, Starr believes EKOS Communications, Inc. provides dynamic environments in which people can share their ideas and learn from each other about how best to meet the environmental and sustainability challenges that confront the planet.
Richard Fulop — Editor/Shooter
Richard brings more than nine years of experience in television and video production to EKOS Communications, Inc. Upon graduating from film school in 1998, he stayed on for two years as a teaching assistant, technical coordinator (responsible for the students on their shoots and for looking after the equipment), and as an editing instructor. He moved into television as a videographer and camera operator for Shaw TV's THE DAILY. A short while later, he took a position as an editor at The New VI when they launched on October 4, 2001. It is here that he met Tasha and Rick. Three years later, he left the New VI to work in Los Angeles as an editor for TLC's Untold Stories of the ER - something he continues to do on a piecemeal basis. In late 2005, he joined the EKOS Communications team.
Specializing in business-to-business data communications, Prarie has integrated clients including Home Depot, Xerox Canada, Amazon, and the Government of British Columbia. Prarie became involved with EKOS Communications, Inc. to offer a venue for innovative and intelligent media that invites people to become engaged and empowered to make effective and positive change for the environment and sustainability. He possesses deep skills as a programmer with Open Source Content Management Systems that lend themselves to customization to the unique communication challenges presented by such issues as climate change.
Launched on Jan. 28, 2005 as ekosTV.com, EKOS Communications exists to assist with the rapid advancement of ecological literacy and sustainability through environmental education and communication.
"An ecologically literate society that acts accordingly."
Many people are increasingly concerned about their impact on the environment, and its impact on them. They want, and need, to know more about how the planet works, and what they can do to ensure the things they care about are taken care of.
EKOS Communications is a meaningful answer to this search for knowledge - and a way to take action.
Combining video, audio, animation, and print with new media innovations, EKOS Communications connects people more deeply with each other to work together for the betterment of the planet.
Nov. 2003 The concept behind ekosTV.com began building four years before when Rick Searle first married his environmental passions with broadcasting. Then, in Nov. of 2003, a changing media landscape propelled Rick to act on his brainchild. He drew together a small group of like-minded colleagues and friends (independent producers, journalists, editors) to sketch out plans for a weekly environmental show for broadcast on the public education channels. Along the way, he made the decision to move forward with creating a website as a way to demonstrate what the show would look like and to commence building an audience. The work of fleshing out the concept fell to Rick and Tasha Bradsell, Associate Producer.
Mar. 2004 Jeff Birmingham joins the team as Technical Director bringing skills as videographer, editor, and web designer/programmer.
Sept. 2004 A beta version of ekosTV.com goes up on the Internet for limited public viewing. First three videos posted were based on material shot at Globe 2004 in April of that year. Stories were: an interview with Maurice Strong on corporate responsibility; a tour through a sustainable condo designed by a Vancouver-based architectural firm; and a talk with a Canadian landscape architect about the restoration of a wadi in Saudi Arabia.
Oct. 2004 A switch to new internet provider brought access to unlimited bandwidth, enabling the streaming of broadcast quality videos.
Nov. 2004 The first sponsored production “Honouring the Pioneers of BC Park Systems” was premiered at a special event at Government House in Victoria, BC and later added to the website. The seven minute story was co-produced with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society BC Chapter, and funded by British Columbia's Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Parks Canada, VanCity (a credit union), and Cook Roberts (a law firm).
Dec. 2004 Work began on development of a business plan while additions were made to the production team (Prarie Blake as IT Specialist; Steve Young as Narrator and Copy Writer; and Starr Munro as Creative Director and Writer). ekosTV.com attracted its first advertiser – The Pinchgroup – specializing in socially responsible investing.
Jan. 2005 On the 28th, ekosTV.com officially launched at a celebration event attended by nearly 200 people while an innovative and interactive announcement heralded the birth of ekosTV.com to the rest of the world!
May. 2005 Steve Young leaves ekosTV team to devote time to building a marketing and public relations company. Development begins for a special feature on socially-responsible investing tentatively set to be broadcast in the fall.
June 2005 ekosTV broadcasts its first packaged show consisting mostly of existing material but with the addition of "Searle's World", a video blog by Executive Producer Rick Searle, and "Postcards from the Planet",video vignettes of nature. Junyee Wang and Chuck Murray join the ekosTV team as Business Development Associates.Principal photography commences on the socially-responsible investing feature.
Aug. 2005 Patricia Sims joins the ekosTV team, bringing loads of experience gained as an independent producer/director/writer while working with Canadian and international broadcasters.
Oct. 2005 With podcasting becoming the latest craze in mass communication, ekosRadio is launched. Co-hosted by Starr Munro and Rick Searle, this talk-show format program featured a half-hour interview with Brian Pinch, an investment advisor with expertise in socially-responsible investing. The program appeared on the ITunes site as a downloadable podcast.
Jan. 2006 ekosTV completes production of a CD-ROM for Oxford University Press Canada. The ROM was bound with a first year geography textbook on environmental issues and challenges distributed across Canada.
Feb. 2006World premiere of "Cooperpires" in a special screening for President Lulu of Brazil!! The short video highlighted the important work of the informal recyclers of Sao Pauko.
Mar. 2006 ekosTV partners with the United Nations University Online Learning Program to present "Saving the Ayuquila River" to mark World Water Day. ekosTV also attends Globe 2006 - the world's largest business and environment trade show and conference - and produces a series of videos and podcasts including an interviews with youth activist, Justin Trudeau.
Apr. 2006,. Incorporation of EKOS Communications, Inc. as parent company to ekostv.com.
Jun. 2006 EKOS Communications contracted to produce an interactive pdf on stewardship for British Columbia Conservation Corps and a series of videos featuring energy efficiency initiatives at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site for Parks Canada - Manitoba Field Unit.
Jul. 2006 EKOS Communications produces a video featuring the ecological literacy programs of the Gulf Island Centre for Ecological Learning.
Sept. 2006 EKOS Communications begins offering its videos in Flash.
Oct. 2006EKOS Communications becomes a media sponsor, along with Access and Shaw, for a special campaign commemorating Alberta Parks 75th Anniversary featuring a limited edition series of prints commissioned from renowned wildlife artist, Robert Bateman.
June 2007 Royal Roads University contracts EKOS Communications to produce a vision of sustainability incorporating latest advances in renewable energy technology and green campuses.
Oct. 2007. EKOS Communications awarded a significant grant from Natural Resources Canada to develop a webtool and group process to facilitate knowledge transfer between municipal government representatives and scientists on the issue of adapting water-related infrastructure within the Fraser Basin of BC to climate change. Simultaneously, production of two videos on the subject commence. Project attracts the active engagement of some of Canada's leading research scientists in the field of climate change.
May 2008 EKOS Communications awarded a contract by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to develop new high school curriculum incorporating biodiversity themes into geography, biology, agricultural science and integrated science sysllabuses.
Aug. 2008 In partnership with the Elder's Council for Parks of British Columbia, EKOS Communications embarks on the production of a video series to celebrate and commemorate the history of BC's world-class park system for its 100th anniversary in 2011.
January 2009 In collaboration with Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE), EKOS Communications, Inc. submits proposal to Parks Canada Agency to create a virtual exhibit to celebrate the organization's centennial, also in 2011
February 2009EKOS Communications wraps up production of the "Biodiversity of the Caribbean" Learning Resource for the OECS. Final product can be viewed here: www.oecs.org/esdu/biodiversity_caribbean_learning.html
April 2009Completion of a DVD-Rom to accompany the 3rd edition of "Environmental Change and Challenge" - a first year geography/environmental studies textbook for Oxford University Press.
May 2009Production completed on Strathcona video - second in the series of videos being produced for the 100th anniversary of BC Parks.
June 2009Production commences on "Wild Coast: A Primer on Our Changing Relationship with Large Carnivores" in collaboration with Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. Project aims to reduce the risks of conflict between large carnivores (wolves and cougars) and people in and around the park. The primer will also be relevant for other communities encountering similar wildlife challenges.
September 2009Rick Searle accepts a four year contract with Ocean Networks Canada as head up and develop the organization's education and public engagement program. Work through Ekos Communications is put on hold for the time.
March 2010 Production completed on "Learning to Live with Large Carnivores: A WildCoast Primer with Guidelines". Launch party set for April 5th in Tofino.
December 2010 EKOS Communications Inc. dissolved and re-born as EKOS Communications as a sole proprietorship.