Having set our clocks forward in March already, we humans may feel like spring has sprung unusually early. But animals, not governed by clocks and watches, are going along with their familiar patterns quite nicely. Often we are so busy with our lives that we may not notice the amazing natural transformations that occur during this season of rebirth, but a six-week Animal Planet event will help change that.
Spring Watch USA airs Saturdays beginning April 21, and it’s almost like a nature reality series. Filmed prior to broadcast each week, the show has cameras across the country that capture the rites of spring as they unfold in near real time.
“I think nature is the ultimate when it comes to reality TV,” says Jeff Corwin, who hosts the show with Vanessa Garnick (Caught in the Moment). Correspondents Philippe Cousteau (Ocean’s Deadliest) and David Mizejewski (Backyard Habitat) are among the field correspondents journeying with various animal families and following them during spring.
“What’s fun about Spring Watch,” says Garnick, “is that it’s in America. It’s our country. You don’t have to go to Africa … all these exotic places. Go to your backyard and you find all these wonderful things that are unfolding right here.”
“I think the viewers are going to be really surprised at some of the things that they didn’t know about some of the animals that live right around us,” adds Mizejewski.
And because of the near-immediacy of the filming, even the hosts might be a bit surprised.
“We will be interpreting and sort of taking in this information as it unfolds,” Corwin says, “and trying to make sense of it and share it with the viewer.”
An online component also helps viewers better understand what is happening. At animalplanet.com and nwf.org, viewers can access resources like user-generated video blogs tracking spring; a message board where people can submit photos of birds they have seen; a complete guide to bird-watching; and more.
“The whole goal here is to get people out in their communities making observations of wildlife and springtime phenomena,” says Mizejewski. “And [to show] how easy it is to see some of these things happening right around us if you just know when and where to look.”
SPRING WATCH USA specials will air on the following nights at 8 PM (ET/PT):
- Saturday, April 21 (Premiere)
- Thursday, April 26
- Saturday, April 28
- Thursday, May 3
- Saturday, May 5
- Sunday, May 13 (special Mother’s Day recap)
In addition to spring being in the air and on television, SPRING WATCH USA is also online. Animal Planet and long-time partner the NWF enhance the series by building an online/digital community. Between http://www.AnimalPlanet.com and http://www.nwf.org, fans of SPRING WATCH USA can track the arrival of spring themselves and learn more about signs of spring in their area. Online components include the following:
- SPRING WATCH USA Tracker — An interactive map where users can upload signs of spring to help track spring across the country.
- Bird & Butterfly Guide — Identify over 100 species of birds and butterflies.
- Baby Animals A-to-Z — Learn about animals born in spring.
- SPRING WATCH USA / NWF Message Board — Talk with other wildlife fans!
- About SPRING WATCH USA — About show, bios and episode guide.
- Animal Tours — Learn more about the animals from the show.
- Spring Fun — Puzzles, wallpaper, e-cards, memory game, slider puzzles
- Interactive Interviews — Interviews with the hosts and correspondents