What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show transforms backyard settings across the country into safe habitats for local flora and fauna. It's an excellent program for junior nature-buffs or budding landscape contractors, and the producers do a fair job of covering a varied range of backyard settings. Both language and content are appropriate for all ages, though there's some discussion of creating safe places in the backyard for animals to mate that might prompt questions.
What's the story?
Hosted by Molly Pesce and naturalist David Mizejewski and presented in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, BACKYARD HABITAT teaches kids things like how to create a water oasis for birds in Los Angeles that doesn't require constant irrigation, build a flowering brush pile in Tennessee to lure rodent-controlling corn snakes onto the property, and construct a house for wrens and chipmunks in a Washington, D.C., backyard. As in home-improvement program for adults, the hosts talk to the owners about what needs to be done and then work together to make the changes. Mizejewski also talks about the animals in question and explains why a particular setting would attract them. The show aims to cover a range of backyard types, but more episodes are focused on nice-sized suburban yards than those found in urban settings.
Is it any good?
Parents have no reason to be wary of this program, which is fine for preschoolers and up. Younger kids may get a bit fidgety when the hosts and the owner discuss their ideas, but soon after, landscape construction starts and fascination kicks in. The end of each episode features a few minutes without audio as the owners sit in their yard and wait to see if they have, in fact, attracted any animals to the new habitats -- a very sweet way to end the show.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the specific animals studied, where they live, what they eat, and other facts. Parents can talk about how the animals' habitats are threatened and what can be done to help them. For older kids interested in becoming naturalists, parents can talk about careers that involve working with animals.