PBS’s ‘Nature: American Spring Live’ celebrates the changing of the seasons

‘American Spring Live’ – No RSVP required for this celebration

“American Spring Live”

One might think viewing seasonal changes in real time is akin to watching grass grow but PBS’ “Nature” promises to give viewers a front-row seat to what it calls nature’s biggest party.

Airing Monday through Wednesday, April 29 through May 1 (check local listings), the three-night multi-platform event “American Spring Live” goes to locations across the country such as the Florida Everglades, the Rockies, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and a sheep farm in Maine to view the arrival of spring and how various plants and animals respond to it.

The three hourlong episodes cover topics such as how the rising temperatures and longer days of spring awaken plants and animals, the mass movements of animals toward the burgeoning spring food supply, and the relationship between plants and animals and how climate change is affecting it.

“One of the things we’re going to look at,” explains Juju Chang (“Nightline”), who hosts the event from California’s Sequoia National Park, “is this idea of spring as a timing event and how that’s being affected by climate change. This idea of some elements of nature are cued by daylight, other elements are cued by temperature. So if those things are off in the slightest, I mean talk about choreography and that’s what’s happening with climate change.

“And so how tragic would it be,” she continues, “if a bird, a hatchling came out and there wasn’t the right food because the bugs haven’t (hatched yet)? So timing, as a scientific concept, is incredibly crucial and … some of that timing is being thrown off by climate change.”

The hope from all involved in the series is to awaken people’s interest in science and in becoming citizen scientists, which Chang says can be done by doing things as simple as gauging rainfall or watching birds in their own backyard.

“It doesn’t take much to be a scientist,” Chang says, “and to make these important observations, especially because scientists can’t be everywhere but they have a big interest in looking at – whether it’s bugs or birds … you can see everything from pollination to migration to hibernation to all sorts of natural phenomena.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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