Student Gabriella Goss wins $500 Alumni Leadership Award from Ecology Project International

Image courtesy of the Ecology Project International

Ecology Project International is pleased to announce that Gabriella Goss, a film student at the University of Santa Cruz, has been awarded a $500 Alumni Leadership Award for her outstanding project proposal titled "Building Bridges Between Ecosystems: An Exploration and Awareness Campaign for Wildlife Crossings."

Gabriella Goss, a passionate filmmaker, grew up in a suburban area of California and frequently witnessed the tragic consequences of wildlife-vehicle collisions during her travels through various natural landscapes. Motivated by her love for the environment and storytelling, Gabriella is determined to address the issue of habitat fragmentation caused by our society's over-reliance on automobiles.

Her project draws inspiration from her Ecology Project International (EPI) course experience in the Galapagos Islands, where she witnessed the thriving wildlife in an ecosystem largely spared from human interference. This prompted her to explore the negative impact of human activities on animal habitats, specifically focusing on the millions of animals killed annually by vehicles.

The documentary film Gabriella plans to create will shed light on the need for wildlife crossings, showcasing existing and under-construction crossings in California. By raising awareness about the dire consequences of road- related wildlife fatalities, she aims to inspire action and contribute to the conservation of animal populations.

"I want this film to be a call to action," says Gabriella. "While we may not eliminate animal fatalities entirely, we can work towards significantly reducing the numbers by advocating for and building more wildlife crossings."

The project's results and knowledge obtained will be disseminated widely through the powerful medium of film, shared across social media platforms, film festivals, and websites. Gabriella anticipates impacting a broad audience, fostering a deeper understanding of the urgency to address the human impact on animal habitats.

"I believe the film medium allows for extensive outreach and engagement," Gabriella explains. "By sharing this documentary through various channels, I hope to inspire individuals to take an active role in advocating for more wildlife crossings both in the United States and beyond."

The Alumni Leadership Award funds will contribute to the production of the documentary, covering costs associated with research, filming, and editing. In the event of partial funding, Gabriella is prepared to explore alternative funding sources such as grants or crowdfunding, ensuring the successful completion of her impactful project.

Gabriella Goss is mentored by Dean Celine Parrenas Shimizu at the University of Santa Cruz, and she plans to commence the project during the school year, with filming scheduled over her spring break. The final documentary is expected to be completed during the summer of 2024.

For more information on EPI’s programs or how students can apply for next year’s Leadership Award, visit their website at

About EPI
Ecology Project International
is a conservation education non-profit like no other. They engage young people from the U.S. and Latin America in hands-on science and conservation projects that protect species and habitat in five countries. More than 45,000 students have participated in their field programs since 2000 with more than 70% of those participants being underserved local youth living in communities adjacent to the project site. Their impact is profound on both local and visiting students, establishing a lifelong commitment to conservation and fosters tomorrow’s leaders.