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Spring Watch USA
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this nearly real-time series offers a close-up look at nature's springtime changes. Cameras take viewers on an animal's-eye-view tour of the country, and hosts explain the different species' lifestyle habits. Because each episode airs within days of being filmed, the information is always current and relatable for viewers observing spring unfold outside their own windows. This is a great choice for family viewing, but very young children may be frightened by occasional scenes of animals eating prey or scientists using blow darts or injections to sedate animals for observation.
What's the story?
SPRING WATCH USA takes viewers on a coast-to-coast field trip to get a close-up look at how the animal world awakens to spring throughout the United States -- from gray whales off the California coast to flying squirrels in Northern Virginia. Using cameras mounted in natural habitats across the country, series hosts Jeff Corwin and Vanessa Garnick monitor the activities of creatures like raccoons, foxes, alligators, bald eagles, and groundhogs. From their post on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, they also personally check in on the vast array of local species -- screech owls, blue birds, and bobcats, to name just a few -- tracking their movements and explaining how their eating, sleeping, and mating habits change with the arrival of spring. Correspondents David Mizejewski and Phillippe Cousteau (grandson of Jacques) share roaming-reporter duty, following sea life (migratory gray whales, sea lions, otters and more) off the California coast and wild animals like beavers, great horned owls, and black bear on the Eastern side of the country. The show's "Wild Eye" feature attaches fiber-optic cameras to creatures as tiny as a cricket, giving both hosts and viewers a glimpse the world from the animals' and insects' unique points of view.
Is it any good?
Each segment of this engaging series airs within days of being filmed, making the content that much more intriguing for its timeliness. So grab your kids and settle in for an entertaining and educational look at Mother Nature's springtime wonders. (One note of caution: Very young children may be upset by scenes of animals eating their prey or scientists using sedatives on animals before studying them.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about seasonal changes where they live. Kids: How does springtime in your area compare to what you see in the show? Which wild animals live near you? How do their activities change in the spring? How does this series teach you about geography and biology? Can television be a good teaching tool? How? Can it hinder education as well? How? Families who enjoy this series may want to get in touch with nature directly by studying the species indigenous to their area and taking hikes to experience them first-hand.
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