April 19, 2016

Who said Colorado is 1,000 miles from the sea? Isn’t it a matter of perspective and, more importantly, timing? Shark tooth in rock.One would normally be hard pressed to refute the geographical certainty of Colorado relative to the ocean, but if you asked the question one hundred million years ago, you’d get a very different answer. In fact, you’d find out that our beloved Centennial state was not only close to the sea, but beneath it. Perhaps even more astonishing, Colorado was much further south and closer to the equator, providing great conditions for coral growth. Seriously. We find evidence of this today from shark teeth and coral fossils found right here in our backyard.

This is the theme- Change Over Time- that Discovery Education plans to share with the world this Earth Day, April 22. Fortunately for us, Ocean First Education was just the partner to bring it all to life.

Less than two months ago, I received the call. Discovery Ed wanted to shoot a virtual field trip for Earth Day and was looking for new and exciting content. This was our chance! Having recently returned from a month long shoot in Indonesia, we had plenty of the former and having taken our brand new toy, an underwater 360 video housing, we had plenty of the latter. Now, how to mesh it all together?

The conversations began in late February and centered on how to bring our marine science curricula and high-definition imagery to life, regardless of where kids live. This is old news for a Boulder-based community of ocean stewards. We’re conveniently located between two seas. Our mantra is to create excitement and a sense of adventure around the ocean.


A call or two later and we had our game plan. The theme was defined, the event was laid out, and now it was time to roll up our sleeves and put it all together. Then, the first of a few curveballs- the event is scheduled to air on Earth Day, but Discovery Ed likes five to six weeks to promote the telecast to their network of teachers and students. Come again? You mean a project that we thought we had two months to complete is now three weeks out? If there was ever a doubt about the importance of clear communication, it was laid to rest after this conversation.

We moved expeditiously. Working day and night, the team built the event from the ground up: three 10-min Q&A sessions for the presenters, narrated videos that touched on the subject matter while dazzling the audience with incredible underwater imagery, pre and post field trip activities for K-12, the whole nine yards. Having never done this before, we wanted to leave an indelible impression of mastery and professionalism. It’s nice to shoot for the stars.


The nerves and anxiety built. The Discovery Ed film crew flew to Boulder and the shoot was on. Having worked tediously on the project, we knew our content and cues inside and out, but it’s not quite the same in front of the camera. We tried not to swivel in our bar stools, to look purposefully between the camera and the student MC, and to eliminate as many ums as came to mind.

When the dust settled, there was an overwhelming sense of jubilation and relief. The presenters delivered on cue, the MC was terrific, Discovery Ed was happy and entertained, and, most importantly, Ocean First Education had just joined the ranks of NASA and Kilimanjaro as featured telecasts from one of the leaders in K-12 education.

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