We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Grubb and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
The major focus of our company Running Wild Media is social impact. When we founded our wildlife and conservation focused production company in 2014, we saw a global need for more impactful and positive environmental change. There already were an abundance of incredible environmental organizations working all over the world to produce this change, but their success stories often get lost in the noise. Running Wild Media specializes in telling stories about conservation, adventure, wildlife and sustainability to educate and inform people of all walks of life about their role on earth and how to preserve it. We use media tools such as videography and photography to tell stories through films, photo exhibitions, social media campaigns, education programs and more. Storytelling is one of the oldest human attributes. This process is how humans learned lessons from one another, it is how instructions shared and storytelling is what passed ideas along to other individuals. It is this innate need to connect with stories that makes us human. By occupying this space, we are able to increase our impact and reach specific audiences with calls to action to inspire change on behalf of the environment. My professional background is in wildlife biology and formal education but I combined these two loves with my hobby of filmmaking and photography. Combining these topics helps me create impact in my immediate and global community. Our projects have covered a full breadth of subjects including red wolf conservation along the Eastcoast of the United States, deep ocean exploration with the California Academy of Sciences, performing education programs with school aged kids living on the Bay Islands in Honduras, going on assignments with National Geographic, CNN and PBS as well as remote expeditions to the jungles of Borneo to protect endangered wildlife. By highlighting each topic in a unique and exciting way, we target our audiences through engaging stories and visuals that can elicit a change in behavior. Our stories are also used to help direct funds to causes and organizations in need to continue the work they are doing to help communities and wildlife around the world. Through the community we have built around our brand and the organizations we work with, we are able to reach millions of people a year with our unique content. Overall, conservation is a people problem, not an environmental problem, and it is through communication with people that we will solve the world’s toughest conservation challenges. By focusing on impact through connecting people to inspiring stories from researchers, scientists, conservationists and wildlife, we hope to support a global ethos for a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Throughout my entire life I have always been drawn to the things I know little about. It started when I was a toddler, winding my way through the neighborhood creek, looking for insects and amphibians that I have never seen before. That childlike spirit of curiosity is still strong within me today and has blossomed into a lifelong obsession with exploring the natural world and doing everything in my power to protect it. This led me to earn my Bachelor of Science in marine biology from Bowling Green State University and work as a wildlife biologist chasing down reptiles in remote areas to learn about their population dynamics and biology. While doing so, I would bring a camera with me to document the incredible things I was finding while out in the field to create blogs, educational material and reports for the general public. I loved being able to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from the field to the general public and fell in love with education, which inspired me to take a job as a teacher at a magnet school in Florida specializing in coastal sciences. After teaching for a while however, I greatly missed the field and going on expeditions so I co-founded Running Wild Media with my buddy from college, Alex Goetz, who studied film production. Creating this company has not gone without its challenges and required us to pay out of pocket to tell wildlife stories in the very beginning. Now that we are a lot more established, we are able to maintain a sustainable business model in the challenging field of film production. My biggest advice to others about finding their passion and feeling fulfilled through their work, is to combine their professional interests with their hobbies and look for creative outlets to share that work. I was interested in marine science but also loved taking photographs and making movies, so I combined these two concepts with education to form the basis of a science communication company. I feel very fulfilled with the work that I do and love working with the various people and organizations that are out there saving the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I currently live in St Louis and just moved to the city earlier this year. So far, I have found an amazing array of things to do around town that I am very excited about. One of my favorite places to visit is the Endangered Wolf Center dedicated to working with a plethora of endangered canids. This facility does cutting edge research on red wolves, Mexican wolves and African painted dogs among others. Another place I absolutely love to visit is the World Bird Sanctuary which works with birds of prey through rehabilitation and breeding programs to help support wild populations. Because of St Louis’ proximity to the Ozark Mountains, there are lots of great places to hike including the Mark Twain National Forest. I love hiking, camping and backpacking in the extraordinary ecosystems of Missouri.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Running Wild Media works with countless conservation organizations around the world dedicated to addressing challenging and evolving environmental issues. Without the frontline work conducted by these organizations, the world would look very different right now. We want to thank these non-profit organizations for rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done against all odds.
Linkedin: Justin Grubb
Running Wild Media