Characters + Stories
Hidden Pacific is set apart from other natural history films in that it focuses on the human stories as much as it does those of wildlife and the history of these places. There is no part of our planet that isn’t in some way touched by the human element, including these faraway islands. Below are some of the people you will meet and be inspired by.
Jessica Kim was 25 when she traveled to Palmyra Atoll as a conservation technician and galley cook nourishing some of the island’s support crew. While there, she put her science background to work in habitat restoration and invasive plant management, and came to understand how precious the atoll’s ecosystems are and why they require protection. She is back on the mainland honing her skills in restaurant kitchens. Jessica’s brief stay on Palmyra instilled an even greater hunger for the natural world, and her unique experience is an example for other young women yearning for adventure and purpose.
Susan White was the monuments supervisor for four marine national monuments, leading and coordinating management of more than 756 million acres of ocean, islands, and atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Her oversight of the monuments and refuges focused on the conservation of more than 23 million seabirds, vast coral reefs, 26 threatened or endangered species and their habitats, sacred cultural sites, iconic World War II historic resources, and support of the perpetuation of indigenous cultures and traditions of Oceania. White was the first U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service superintendent of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site and also oversaw the Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll, and Marianas Trench Marine National Monuments. A recipient of the Department of the Interior’s Distinguished Service Award, White is currently the refuge manager of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Charlie Pelizza worked with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for more than 36 years in habitats ranging from the tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay and prairies of the Dakotas to the deserts of the American southwest and the tropical islands of the Pacific. He was most recently the assistant refuge supervisor for the Hawaii and Pacific Island refuges and marine national monuments and the branch chief for planning and visitor services. In 2012, because of his work on a major Florida Everglades conservation project, he received the Champion of the Everglades, Conservationist of the Year, and Refuge Manager of the Year awards. He is retired and currently lives in Hawaii.