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Public Educational Media
February 10, 2021

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations awarded a grant of $240,000 in 2019 to South Florida PBS to complete production of the 12th Season of Changing Seas, an award-winning environmental series that explores the ocean with scientists as they uncover new information that could lead to scientific breakthroughs. This popular series has been seen in over 35 countries worldwide, aired in 100% of Top 25 US television markets and been shown in 94% of all PBS markets. The overarching goals of the program are to give viewers an opportunity to experience first-hand how oceanographers and other experts study earth’s last frontier and to shed light on how human activities are threatening ocean resources and viability.

Below is a brief description of the four new episodes:

Florida’s Blue Holes: Oases in the Sea – Submerged sinkholes and springs, more commonly called blue holes, attract a diversity of marine life in an otherwise ocean desert. A group of scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory and technical divers collaborate to better understand these ecological oases in the sea.

A Decade After Deepwater – Ten years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, scientists are still studying the devastating impacts on the Gulf of Mexico. In this episode, researchers investigate the effects of this environmental catastrophe on deep-sea coral communities.

Peru’s Desert Penguins – Dedicated scientists monitor Peru’s penguin populations and study the animals’ interactions with fisheries to provide managers with the data needed to better protect the animals in the future.

American Samoa’s Resilient Coral Reefs – Coral reefs around the world are in serious decline, but American Samoa’s reefs have so far been relatively resilient in the face of local and global stressors.Scientists investigate what makes the territory’s coral reefs more resilient than others, and how lessons learned locally might help corals that are in decline elsewhere.

South Florida PBS is the 7th largest PBS market serving 6.3 million viewers. The four new episodes were launched locally first, and then made available and picked up for national distribution by 262 PBS stations reaching 82% of the country. Public engagement events where scientists, students, and the public come together for deeper discussions about issues presented in the films is a key component of the program. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the planned community engagement events pivoted to virtual events resulting in increased participation. Changing Seas was promoted on air and online and was screened at 15 events, including live screenings on Facebook, engaging over 50,000 viewers. The program has been accepted at several film festivals including International Ocean Film Festival, Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Wild Oceans FilmFest, Korea International Ocean Film Festival. In addition, the four new episodes have been nominated for a regional Emmy award in the “Environmental Program” category.

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