Nature Boom Time is a new video series that appears on the Nat Geo WILD channel in their new KiDS block that starts on Saturday morning at 7am. I’m not sure what your household is like but we’re generally still sleeping at the time. But no worries. We’ve been taking advantage of many of the on-demand videos on the National Geographic Kids website.
The latest is a short-segment series called Nature Boom Time, created by Charlie Engelman. It’s a 12 episode series about… TREES! But it’s not just the subject matter that makes it interesting. It’s the way that Charlie presents it.
Let me back up a second…
How did Charlie get this gig and, more importantly, WHY TREES?
Charlie is science filmmaker and recent graduate of the University of Michigan. In 2014 he beat out 700 other filmmakers to win National Geographic’s Expedition Granted Competition, winning $50,000 to fund a trip across the United States to document the countries’ national forests. His journey is the focus of Nat Geo WILD KiDS new series NATURE BOOM TIME.
The Nat Geo team scheduled a call for us to talk to Charlie before I had a chance to check out any of his shows. All I could tell from my end was that he was a young, energetic guy with a passion for educating kids about the world around them.
He talked about the inspiration for the series. He started making his own small films with his iPhone about four or five years ago pay attention to things that caught his eye like frogs and birds. He honestly did it simply because it just seemed like a really fun thing to do.
What caught my ear was when he described himself as being both science-y and creative. YES! Welcome to my world!!!
But why trees? If you want to get kids interested in science, why pick trees? That’s exactly what I asked him and his answer was just perfect.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to look out the window and see a bird. You might happen to catch a glimpse of a frog. But every kid, whether in the city or the country, can look out the window and see a tree. It’s something that everyone, in some way, can relate to.
I happen to be a tree nerd so I was sold.
That afternoon, when Evan got home from school, I asked him if he wanted to check out one of the Nature Boom Time videos with me. So we started with Episode 1 focusing on the Petrified Forest National Park. Perfect. We had just been talking about what petrified wood was and I even showed Evan a sample from when we visited the park years before he was born.
He was hooked and so was I.
Should we watch another one? I asked him. YES! he replied. And we continued to watch two more episodes. The first showcasing a scuba dive in the kelp forests of the Pacific and the second showing Sequoia National Park (where they slept in in the treetops!).
We’ve since bingewatched even more and plan to finish the series.
(Update: Since this post was written, we DID finish the series and we want more!!)
So why are we so excited about it? Well, me = tree nerd. But my son loves it too. Here are all the reasons we love this series:
- CHARLIE! His enthusiasm and style are what makes the series so engaging. He loves what he’s talking about and looks like he’s having fun doing it.
- The CREW! Charlie brings along his sister Kirby and his best friend Patrick so really you don’t feel like you’re being schooled. You feel like you’re joining the party!
- The CREATIVITY! It’s fast-paced and perfect for those (like me and kids) that have a short attention span. Clerly they’ve got some mad crafting skills.
- The COOLNESS! Yeah, I love tree but are they cool? Well, have you ever seen circus trees? Do you know the difference between a sequoia and a redwood? Ever wonder about how Christmas trees are grown? Even stuff I never thought I’d be interested in becomes addicting to watch.
We’ve got five more episodes in the series and we can’t wait to watch them. In fact, I’d love to see education take a few notes from Charlie’s style. He proves my theory that science can be fun as long as you know how to bring it to life for kids.