There are shows specifically aimed at kids, others designed to appeal to adults. It’s not always easy to find something that will entertain and educate the whole family.
The Blevins family of Springboro says the National Geographic Live series does a great job of pleasing folks of all ages. Melissa and Robert and their two children — ages 10 and 8 — have been attending the programs since 2017 and are currently looking forward to the new three-part virtual series which kicks off on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Although the streaming version is a needed compromise, the family doesn’t want to to miss it.
Before the 2019-2020 series was interrupted by the pandemic, Nat Geo Live had completed seven successful seasons at the Victoria Theatre. “The series has been a great way to expose my kids to science, nature, other parts of the world, and potential careers,” says Melissa Blevins. “It’s entertaining and fun for the whole family. It combines really great storytelling with gorgeous, engaging photography and videography.”
Although she knows similar programming is available on Netflix these days, she says it was always special to experience it downtown in the historic Victoria Theatre and to “meet” so many extraordinary scientists and explorers. “You get to hear behind-the-scenes stories about important discoveries and issues affecting the environment,” she says.
The Blevins children, Ben and Maren, are in fourth and third grade at Dennis Elementary in Springboro. “I like science and the beauty of nature,” Maren says. “One of my favorites has been Anand Varma’s photographs of parasites. Who would have thought parasites could be so beautiful?”
Varma, who has developed innovative techniques for creating detailed images of creatures otherwise invisible to the naked eye, will kick off the series on Feb. 9. He’ll be joined by molecular biologist-turned-photographer Prasenjeet Yadav.
Credit: @ Ian Lockwood IAN
Credit: @ Ian Lockwood IAN
History of the project
In December, Dayton Live surveyed active patrons of the series about the option of streamed events and received positive feedback as well as recommendations on which events had the most appeal. The three events being offered reflect that feedback.
Each 60-minute streamed event will feature two Nat Geo explorers in pre-recorded presentations followed by live, moderated conversation and audience Q&A.
Credit: REBECCA HALE
Credit: REBECCA HALE
National Geographic’s Andrew Pudvah, production director for Global Events & Experiences, will help moderate the live discussions.
The popular series, he explains, can be traced back to a “club of sorts” formed by National Geographic as a way for explorers to share their stories. That club has had different iterations over the years and since 1996 has been known as Nat Geo Live.
“What makes this unique is that we’re bringing true stories of science, adventure and exploration to the stage,” he says. “We present speakers and stories that entertain, enlighten, enable audiences to better understand the world and their place in it.”
Pudvah says the presentations prove audiences are hungry for fact-based storytelling. “We leave audiences inspired to make a difference and change the world,” he says. “We choose the people we think are the strongest storytellers with the most important and timely messages.”
The programs are designed to take audiences from the depths of space to the deepest parts of our oceans. “You could meet snow leopards, bats, and deep sea creatures,” Paducah says. “David Gruber, who is featured on the March 30 program, studies biofluorescence and has even developed a camera that can see the world through the eyes of a turtle! Bryan Smith and Keith Ladzinski, who will appear on March 16, worked together filming Will Gadd’s climb of frozen Niagara Falls.”
Pudvah says audiences often come to these events in hopes of being transported to some location around the world. “And even while travel is restricted right now because of the pandemic, here’s an opportunity to explore our world through the eyes of the world’s leading scientists, adventurers and photographers.”
The Blevins family is looking forward to the new programs. " We find ourselves talking about the presentations months and years later,” says Melissa Blevins. “Sometimes it relates to something in the news or what the kids are learning in school, or just a ‘hey remember when’ moment. We learn something fascinating and important every time we go.”
HOW TO GO
What: National Geographic Live, a series of three virtual presentations presented by Dayton Live.
- “Scientific Exposure” with natural history photographers Anand Varma and Prasenjeet Yadav, Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.
- “Feats of Filmmaking” with Bryan Smith and Keith Ladzinski, Tuesday, March 16, at 7 p.m.
- “Mysterious Seas” with marine biologists Diva Amon and David Gruber, Tuesday, March 30, at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $25. Any amount patrons have on account with DaytonLive.org can be applied. To order, visit Daytonlive.org/series/nat-geo-live
Want to follow up with the kids?
Over 80 animals — including regal lions, playful pandas, fearsome Gila monsters and creepy tarantulas — are covered in a new book being published in honor of UN World Wildlife Day, March 3.
National Geographic Kids’ “Wild Wet Adventures: Saving Animals Around the World with Dr. Gabby Wild” will be published in March. The book is about some of the world’s most incredible creatures, as seen through the eyes of Wild, a wildlife veterinarian. Her nonprofit foundation is dedicated to the protection of the world’s most endangered creatures.
The hardcover book sells for $19.99 and is available in March.
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