Congratulations to Valerie Taylor for her well deserved 2021 Legacy Award!
Valerie Taylor is a pioneering diver, underwater photographer/filmmaker, shark expert, artist, children’s book author, and passionate ocean conservationist. Her activism helped to halt oil development in Ningaloo Marine Park, overturn mining rights on the Coral Sea Islands, and secure hard-won protection for numerous important marine species and their ecosystems on the Great Barrier Reef and elsewhere.
Valerie Taylor has dedicated her life to promoting awareness about our oceans and the necessity of marine species habitat protection for the past 60 years. She began her career in the ocean as a free diver in the 1950s, spearfishing to feed her family, but she soon realized that killing fish for enjoyment was both unnecessary and unsustainable. She and her husband Ron (deceased 2012) took up their cameras and began photographing the ocean’s beauties, with a particular focus on sharks. Shark Hunters, their debut picture, was released in 1963.
Valerie lobbied lawmakers with her fierce charm and tenacity, and was essential in the creation of marine sanctuaries and species protection legislation. Using their footage as a tool in her lobbying, she was able to have the grey nurse shark protected, making it the first shark in the world to do so. Valerie’s appearance on television screens around the world in the 1960s, cage-free with sharks like the Ocean White Tips, encouraged generations of people to change their minds about sharks and join her in advocating for their protection.
About Jackson Wild Legacy Awards
At the intersection of nature, science, and conservation, Jackson Wild is a catalyst for accelerating and elevating effective storytelling. Jackson Wild fosters an inclusive venue for storytellers to more profoundly illuminate ties to the natural environment and our collective responsibility to the wild through innovative and collaborative community events, skill-building initiatives, and mentorship programmes.
In a world beset by unparalleled global environmental problems, we live in a place of transcendent beauty. We think that ideas and media have the capacity to inspire curiosity and ignite change via individual action. Film storytelling deepens our comprehension of the world around us, inspires dedication to conserve and repair the natural systems on which all life depends, and enables the drastic adjustments that will be required.
“No child today will ever ever know … how rich the marine life used to be. They’ll only know what man has done to it,”
Valerie Taylor, 85, told The Current Matt Galloway.