Did you know our parks, moths, and Discovery staff were featured in an episode of TVOKids Leo’s Pollinators Explorer Club?
The series was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series!
These awards are the Canadian equivalent to the Emmy Awards.
We caught up with our three Ontario Parks stars featured in this episode for an exclusive interview to learn more about their experience:
Mark Read, Assistant Superintendent
Mark, what kind of preparation did you have to do for your role?
I spent a couple of long evenings out at the Lally Homestead at Murphys Point, hoping for a sighting of the Hummingbird Clearwing, the episode’s real star.
I saw one with the episode’s producer the evening before shooting, but failed on the day of. Luckily, Kathleen and the Pinery team were able to help us out.
Why is it important to share stories like this?
With their educational and exploratory concept, the show appeals to, and is made for, a younger audience. At the same time, it’s able to capture and share the expertise of folks like us who work in the field.
It highlights just one small aspect of what our provincial parks have to offer and through a fun program like this, brings Ontario Parks into living rooms across the province.
Any final thoughts?
It was good fun and great to work with so many professionals.
Obviously it was a disappointment not to find the moth here at Murphys Point, but glad Kathleen could come up trumps and save the day!
Kathleen Chayer, Chief Park Naturalist
Being filmed isn’t a regular part of your role in Discovery, so how was your experience?
It was exciting to be filmed!
I’ve been lucky in my career to have been filmed for a few things before, but I certainly wouldn’t say it plays a large part of my role, and I’ve never been filmed for something as big as a TVO production.
I grew up watching TVO content, so it was exciting to think of young people watching that content and getting more familiar with our parks and the animals who call our parks home.
What kind of preparation did you do for your role?
Leo’s Pollinators was already scheduled to be at Pinery to film their Rusty-patched Bumblebee episode when we found out that — although Mark is an absolute superstar — they weren’t able to find any Hummingbird Clearwings to be filmed at Murphys Point.
That created a great opportunity for Pinery staff.
The Discovery team were real champs, as I was able to rally all the Discovery staff working over the course of the filming at Pinery to get out and about to look in the park for these pals.
In the end, we netted two moths to bring to the film crew. One of them was used for me during the “look, I caught one” section, and the other one was used for the close-up filming.
Did anything surprise you about the filming process?
The filming process was easier than what I had imagined!
The TVO staff were terrific. This was my first-time filming with a director, which meant it wasn’t me planning the shots or direction.
I was told exactly what the camera would be focusing on and what I was meant to be doing with my body. I was also impressed by the efficiency of the staff in getting me set up with a microphone, etc.
Why is it important to share stories like this one that you were a part of?
It was great to highlight the Ontario Parks system to a younger audience and to showcase the fact that while provincial parks are fabulous places for camping trips, they are also incredibly important homes to species like pollinators that we all depend on.
This episode was the perfect opportunity for Mark to shine — he did a really great job in his section, and I think that only further promotes the skillsets that our Discovery staff have.
The folks running Discovery programs across the province are experts in their park, as both naturalists and interpreters. They have spent years honing their professional skillsets and that makes them excellent science communicators.
We’ve got to know, Kathleen: have you watched the episode you’re in? How did that make you feel?
I have watched it.
I love Mark’s bit. It is pretty surreal to watch yourself on tv, though. And hard not to be a little critical of “does my face always move like that?”
The Hummingbird Clearwing, park resident
The Hummingbird Clearwing is a moth that calls more parks than Pinery and Murphys Point home.
We tried to interview it about the filming experience, but unsurprisingly it didn’t have much to say as it was to busy feeding on nectar using its long proboscis.
To spot this amazing moth in action, look near its favourite food sources: milkweed, blueberry, lilac, thistles, and phlox.
Remember to observe carefully. Don’t let its flight confuse you into thinking it’s a hummingbird, or let its fuzzy-patterned body make it pass for a large bee.
A big honour for all
Thank you to Mark and Kathleen for sharing your time, expertise, passion, and parks — you’re both shining examples of the work our Discovery Program does!
Congratulations to TVOKids and our staff alike on a wonderful nature education series, and well-deserved recognition!
To you, our faithful reader (yes, you!): what are you waiting for?
Watch the episode these two amazing staff are in:
From Mark, Kathleen, and the rest of Ontario Parks, congratulations to the cast and crew of Leo’s Pollinators Explorer Club on this amazing project and deserved nomination!