Discover the Unique Personalities of Bees in Nature’s Season 40 Premiere, My Garden of a Thousand Bees, Wednesday, October 20 at 8/7c on PBS
Wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn documents his buzzworthy discoveries during the COVID-19 lockdown
Taking refuge from the coronavirus pandemic, wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn set out to record all the bees he could find in his tiny urban garden in Bristol, England, filming them with one-of-a kind lenses he forged on his kitchen table. See his surprising discoveries in Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees, premiering nationwide Wednesday, October 20 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nature and the PBS Video app.
The documentary, which kicks off Nature’s 40th season on PBS, follows Dohrn during the COVID-19 lockdown of spring and summer 2020, as he becomes bee obsessed and develops relationships with individual bees. Filming more than 60 species of bees, from Britain’s largest bumblebees to scissor bees, which are the size of a mosquito, Dohrn observes how differences in behavior set different species apart from each other. Eventually, he gets so close to the bees, he can identify individuals just by looking at them.
Viewers will marvel at moments timely captured in Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees, such as bees laying tiny eggs preparing for the next generation, green-fanged spiders feasting on male flower bees and a female yellow-faced bee attacking a Gasteruption wasp to protect her nest. Other fascinating behavior featured in the program includes two male bees fighting each other over a female, different species of bees competing over territory and one busy bee building a nest with a shell and hundreds of sticks. Intrigued by the intelligence of one particular wood-carving leafcutter bee, Dohrn dubs her “Nicky” and sees life at her level as she leaves a lasting legacy in the garden.
“My hope is that Martin Dohrn’s emotional connection with the bees in his garden will resonate with people and lead to a new appreciation for these vital insects,” said Fred Kaufman, executive producer for Nature.
Led by executive producer Kaufman, Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry, bringing the natural world to millions of viewers. The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 19 Emmys and three Peabodys. Consistently among the most-watched primetime series on PBS, Nature continues to innovate through original digital programming and a commitment to converting viewers into doers. A new podcast, Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, launches on September 28. Nature’s award-winning website, pbs.org/nature, features full episodes, short films, digital series, behind-the-scenes content, news articles, educational resources and more. Nature is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
Nature is a production of The WNET Group for PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. Bill Murphy is Series Producer. Janet Hess is Series Editor. Danielle Broza is Digital Content & Strategy Lead. Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees is a production of Passion Planet, The WNET Group and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios in association with Ammonite Films. Filmed and narrated by Martin Dohrn, the documentary is directed by David Allen and produced by Gaby Bastyra. David Guy Elisco and Sean B. Carroll are Executive Producers for HHMI Tangled Bank Studios.
The documentary is also supported by a national outreach and engagement initiative to help audiences across the country better understand and appreciate the role bees and other pollinators play in healthy ecosystems. The effort, led by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios and Nature, will feature pollinator-related video and social media content from Nature and Seeker; formal and informal educational materials; and local activations—including seed planting events, screenings and activities—via select PBS stations and the STAR Library Network to libraries, nature centers and community gatherings.
Support for Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees was provided by The Hite Foundation, Bradley L. Goldberg Family Foundation and The Sun Hill Family Foundation in memory of Susan and Edwin Malloy. Series funding for Nature is also made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, The Fairweather Foundation, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, Charles Rosenblum, Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Leonard and Norma Klorfine, Sandra Atlas Bass, Colin S. Edwards, Gregg Peters Monsees Foundation, Koo and Patricia Yuen, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public television viewers.
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About The WNET Group
The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the community-supported home of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider; and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading nonprofit public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.
About Passion Planet
Passion Planet is a division of Passion Pictures, a global production company with a worldwide reputation for its feature documentaries landmark television productions, and animation. With three Oscars, three BAFTAs, and numerous Emmy awards Passion titles include: Academy Award-winning One Day in September, Academy Award-nominated Restrepo, BAFTA-winning The Imposter, Academy Award and BAFTA-winning Searching For Sugar Man, Golden Panda and Emmy-winning My Life as a Turkey, and the Netflix original Academy Award-nominated Winter On Fire. Recent releases include two of Netflix’s hit documentaries of 2020: Circus of Books, and Rising Phoenix (about the Paralympics). Passion Planet was set up by four-time Emmy Award-winning producer/director, David Allen, to focus on natural history and specialist factual output, recent productions include the Emmy-winning feature documentary The Serengeti Rules, the PBS and BBC multi-award-winning series H20: The Molecule that Made Us and the award winning The Octopus in My House (Octopus: Making Contact). Visit www.passion-pictures.com for more information.
About HHMI Tangled Bank Studios
HHMI Tangled Bank Studios is a mission-driven production company that crafts exceptional films about science and scientists for broadcast, theatrical and digital distribution. As storytellers within a world class science organization, the studio is uniquely positioned to shine a light on some of the most significant scientific challenges and breakthroughs of our time. Recent films include Emmy-nominated Nature’s Fear Factor, CNN/BBC’s Race for the Vaccine, which followed leading scientists developing the Covid vaccine during the pandemic; The Farthest – Voyager In Space, which won the Emmy for best science documentary; The Serengeti Rules, which won the Emmy for outstanding nature documentary; Peabody Award-winning Inventing Tomorrow; and Ric Burns’ critically acclaimed Oliver Sacks: His Own Life. To deepen the learning and extend the reach of each film project, the studio undertakes educational and public outreach efforts in partnership with myriad mission-driven organizations. For more information, please visit www.tangledbankstudios.org.