There is nothing like being recognized for your hard work and a job well done. Jonathan Bird, host and creator of Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, and his devoted team were the proud recipients of three 2011 New England Emmy Awards which were presented on Saturday, May 14.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Boston/New England held its 34th ceremony in Quincy where Jonathan Bird, himself, received the On-Camera Talent Program-Host/Moderator award and the entire Blue World production team took home two additional awards for best Magazine Feature/Segment for “Lobsters” and best Children/Youth Program for “Antarctica.”
The evening was momentous for the Blue World team whose commitment and broad talent has made the television series a nationwide success. “I have a lot of people who help me with the show and they are all friends and divers and passionate about the underwater world,” Bird said. “They are all volunteers and for them to get the bragging rights of an Emmy Award is something that money can’t buy.”
Jonathan Bird’s Blue World is an underwater adventure series that airs on public television in thiry-three states. It is currently airing locally on ‘GBH Kids on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The show is full of entertaining, educational and valuable information about marine research, underwater exploration, and ocean life from all over the world.
Blue World is told in the first person and always in the present tense in order to engage the viewer to the fullest extent possible. “I want people to feel when they are watching it that they are right there with me,” Bird said. "Every segment is a quest in search of answers.”
The show is one that the entire family will enjoy whether you are 4, 40, or 100-years-old.
The passion behind the program runs deep. Bird, a former engineer, first became acquainted with scuba diving when he was looking to fulfill a gym credit that he required to graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He immediately fell in love with the underwater world and would later tie in his long-time interest in photography to capture the amazing underwater sights that he was observing.
Over time, Bird’s hobby and fascination with ocean life would become his future path. He was inspired by the work of Howard Hall, an underwater cinematographer who Bird admires and considers the best in the industry. Bird began to share his hobby in schools through educational filmmaking.
He would then take his commitment to the next level by establishing his non-profit organization, Oceanic Research Group, which is dedicated to the conservation of the world’s oceans and marine life through education.
Little by little, Bird would take steps and meet the right people to further hone his film-making craft and begin the creation of programs to be aired on television. His first small screen success came with a self-financed show about sharks that he put together with Art Cohen who now serves as a writer, editor and narrator on Blue World. This would launch Bird into other television projects that would eventually lead him to Blue World and now to his first Emmy in recognition of his hosting skills.
“Being recognized for being a good host was kind of cool,” Bird said. “It was one of the best nights in my life, we really had a fun time and I was blown away by that.”
Bird’s commitment to Blue World has come with many rewards and challenges, too, as funding a project of this nature is not easy. His wife, Christine, and his two children support Bird’s enthusiasm for what he does and his desire to see his vision through. In addition to her own career, Christine has become actively involved in Blue World helping to secure grant money to keep it going.
“I really love this and I get to do things that most people only dream of,” Bird said. “This is what I do.”
The third season of Jonathan Bird’s Blue World is expected to air in the fall of 2011. Viewers can expect to see the story of a stranded pilot whale discovered on the beaches of Curacao and followed through to rehabilitation at San Diego SeaWorld and a segment focusing on an unsuspecting 13-year-old from Nahant who was granted a wish to go scuba diving with Jonathan Bird. “Season three is awesome,” Bird said. “We had some amazing adventures and did some very fun things.”