QUEST Launches New Science Series with Award-Winning Host Simran Sethi

Contact: Sevda Eris, Publicist, seris@kqed.org, 415.553.2835

Television Season Premieres with
Lake Tahoe Special
at 7:30pm, October 16, on KQED 9

 

QUEST, KQED’s award-winning multimedia science series, has a new focus on the science of sustainability; a new host, Simran Sethi; and a new team of science and environment reporters from public media stations across the country.

QUEST kicks off its new television season at 7:30pm on Wednesday, October 16, on KQED with a half-hour special, Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It?, examining the lake’s storied history and the small army of scientists and others who are working daily to turn back the clock to a time when you could see 100 feet down into its blue waters.

“Everyone is so motivated to preserve Tahoe’s natural beauty, but all the work involved really highlighted the fragility of the whole endeavor,” says Gabriela Quirós, the documentary’s producer.

The program features Geoffrey Schladow, director of the University of California at Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and TERC’s Brant Allen, who drops a plastic disc into the lake every ten days to monitor its clarity. Also featured are the US Forest Service’s restoration of an important Tahoe wetland, and inspectors who make sure boats don’t carry invasive mussels into the lake.

QUEST’s new episodes focus on the many ways in which science, technology, engineering and sheer ingenuity are being used to address issues related to water, food, energy, climate and biodiversity.

“I am thrilled to be a part this new QUEST series that is helping people make connections between science and all that helps sustain us: from food and water to climate and energy,” says new host Simran Sethi, an award-winning journalist and educator who teaches and reports on sustainability and environmental issues. “This work, these innovations and this co-created future belong to all of us.”

Named “the environmental messenger” by Vanity Fair and a “top ten eco-hero” by the UK’s Guardian, Simran is currently writing a book on the loss of agricultural biodiversity in our food. She has also been featured on NBC Nightly News, CNBC, The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today show.

QUEST, a multimedia science series launched in 2007 at KQED in San Francisco, has expanded to a national collaboration that includes QUEST Nebraska (NET, Nebraska); QUEST North Carolina (UNC-TV, North Carolina); QUEST Northern California (KQED, San Francisco); QUEST Northwest (KCTS 9, Seattle); QUEST Ohio (WVIZ, WCPN,WCLV,ideastream, Cleveland); and QUEST Wisconsin (WPR, WPT, WI Media Lab, ICS, Wisconsin).

“Innovation and high-caliber science reporting have been the keys to QUEST’s success and the series will continue to push the boundaries of what media coverage can achieve in increasing public understanding of critical environmental challenges,” says Jason Black, QUEST executive producer. “QUEST simultaneously draws on public media producers’ expertise as informal educators and their investigative skills as they report on some of the most important and complex topics of our time.”

QUEST’s fall television lineup includes the following five half-hour episodes:
Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It? (10/16) – Follows the scientists working to turn back the clock to a time when you could see 100 feet down into the second-deepest lake in the United States
From Farm to Fork to Fuel (10/23) – Explores urban farming in Milwaukee; new ways to reduce food waste in San Francisco and beyond; and how cooking grease is turned into biofuel in North Carolina
Restoring America’s Waters (10/30) – Investigates efforts to rebuild oyster reefs in North Carolina; to battle algae blooms in Lake Erie; and to restore salmon to a dammed river in Washington state
America’s Energy Future (11/6) – Examines the world’s largest solar thermal farm in California; fracking in Ohio; and new energy-efficient home designs in Missouri
Next Meal: Engineering Food (11/13) – Explores the science behind genetically engineered crops and what the future holds for research and regulations

Multimedia Series
A new website, QUESTScience.org, showcasing QUEST’s new focus features:
Television Episodes – Five half-hour episodes broadcasting this fall and three half-hour episodes broadcasting in the Spring of 2014
Radio Reports – 20 public radio features
Web Series and Articles – A 12-part Web video series and more than one hundred online articles
Education Assets and Training – Multimedia resources made specifically for use in educational settings and in-depth educator training on using these assets
Community Outreach – Events with community partners, and other collaborations
Social Media – A social media presence through QUEST Science on Facebook , Google+ and Twitter
QUEST will host a Google+ Hangout On Air with Simran Sethi at 4pm (PST) on Monday, October 14.

About the Producers
QUEST’s management team is housed at KQED and includes Jason Black, executive producer; Lisa Landers, managing editor; Adrienne Calo, lead coordinating producer; Lucy Laffitte, Ph.D., education manager; Amy Miller, television series producer; and Mike Kahn, social media producer. Gabriela Quirós and Sheraz Sadiq are QUEST Northern California television producers. Lindsey Hoshaw is QUEST Northern California coordinating producer. Find out more about QUEST’s stations and producers here.

Funders
Funding for QUEST is provided by the National Science Foundation with a two-year, $2.5 million grant. The grant covers production, education resources and community engagement from 2012 through 2014. For this season of QUEST, “Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It?” and “Next Meal Engineering Food” were produced with additional funding for KQED Science by The Follis Family Fund; Mary Van Voorhees Fund; S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation; The David B. Gold Foundation; The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation; The Vadasz Family Foundation; Wyncote Foundation; Amgen Foundation; and the members of KQED.

About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program, and as a leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.