Hey nature lovers! PBS is giving you its first live nature program without the BBC, featuring an all-American cast and crew visiting more than 20 locations. In addition to capturing incredible wonders, the goal of the show is to inspire participation in citizen science and help collect data critical for climate change and conservation research. Nature has partnered with six citizen science organizations and will highlight their work & encourage signups during the broadcast and beyond. The program will also livestream on the PBS website and Facebook, so you have no excuse if you miss this! Juju Chang hosts the three-day, multi-platform event live on April 29, 30 and May 1.
Spring is one of nature’s greatest performances – a time of rebirth, renewed energy and dramatic transformations. For three consecutive nights, Monday, April 29 – Wednesday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) and Facebook, Nature: American Spring LIVE presents the change from winter to spring in real time from iconic locations across America.
Acclaimed news anchor Juju Chang will host the multi-platform event with on-camera experts, including biologist Thor Hanson and entomologist Phil Torres, showing springtime phenomena in ecosystems ranging from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Everglades, from inner-city parks to remote wilderness preserves. The series will include a mix of live and pre-taped footage highlighting some of the most pivotal events in nature’s calendar.
“Nature throws a party every year, and it’s called spring. It is the most active time in the natural world for plants and animals, from birth and rebirth to migrations to pollination,” said Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman. “In addition to witnessing incredible wonders, the goal of Nature: American Spring LIVE is to inspire people to go outside and get involved with science. Everyone can play a part in our natural world.”
A diverse group of researchers and citizen scientists will investigate how a wide range of organisms respond to the change of seasons. They will share their insights into the natural world, reveal new technologies that make their discoveries possible and encourage audiences to join the adventure of science.
Each episode is built around a central theme chosen to reveal how the new season triggers extraordinary biological change. Live locations include California’s Sequoia National Park and Coastal Marin County; Gainesville, Florida, and the Everglades; the Eastern shore of Virginia; a sheep farm in Maine; a black bear den in rural Western Maryland; Mt. Lemmon, Arizona; and Texas’ Bracken Cave and Gulf Coast.
Episode 1: “Birth and Rebirth” premieres Monday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) and facebook.com/PBSNature
Tracing the green wave that sweeps across the continent in spring, see how the rising temperatures and longer days spur plants to awaken and flower, and animals to seek out newly abundant resources for their new families. See bears emerge from hibernation in Maryland and witness the connection that nesting birds have with alligators in the Everglades. Go nest hunting in Arizona and learn how the California wildlands are being reborn after a year of devastating wildfires. Discover how animals have incorporated seasonal change into their life cycles and successful reproductive strategies – all demonstrated by the birth of a lamb in Maine.
Episode 2: “Migration” premieres Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) and facebook.com/PBSNature
Breeding and the greening of the landscape are tied to another major spectacle of spring: the mass movements of animals as they take advantage of spring’s bounty. Meet the scientists who track the journeys of animals such as butterflies, birds, bison and bats over vast distances, from winter refuge to spring nesting grounds. As they attempt to uncover the precise triggers and timing of migration and its impact on other animal species, the scientists grapple with how these patterns and behaviors may shift due to climate change.
Episode 3: “Connections” premieres Wednesday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) and facebook.com/PBSNature
Nature’s perfect partnerships, precisely synchronized, have evolved over thousands of years. Learn how plants and animals depend on each other to survive. See first-hand how climate change can break those connections, altering the timing of weather and plant growth, and disrupting the delicate relationships between plants and pollinators such as moths, bees and butterflies. Watch a family of wolf cubs explore their den in Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park and learn about their vital connection with the park’s ecosystem. Plus, see how bobcats in California hunt for mice and other small prey.
To encourage citizen science participation during the live event and beyond, Nature: American Spring LIVEhas partnered with the Bird Cams Lab and Celebrate Urban Birds projects (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), The Great Sunflower Project (San Francisco State University), The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab), Track-a-Lilac with Nature’s Notebook (USA National Phenology Network), SciStarter (Arizona State University), Next Avenue (Twin Cities PBS), and the National Park Service.
WNET Community Engagement will work with PBS stations in communities across the country in partnership with local science and community-based organizations to encourage diverse audiences to participate in citizen science through a series of training workshops, family events and more.
A robust collection of classroom resources produced by WNET Kids’ Media and Education will be hosted on PBS LearningMedia with activities to help teachers get students involved in hands-on science research. Additionally, WNET’s Emmy Award-winning series Cyberchase will focus on citizen science in a new primetime special, Space Waste Odyssey, premiering Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. on the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream.