April 22, 2014
Celebrating Earth Day, WGBH Unveils PLUM LANDING Digital AdventureNew cross-platform website helps 6- to 9-year-olds build environmental science skills
Site already named a “Best Pick Website” by TECHwithKIDS.com
BOSTON, Mass. (April 22, 2014) – In celebration of Earth Day, local public broadcaster WGBH and PBS Kids unveiled PLUM LANDING, an all-new, cross-platform digitial production designed to engage 6- to 9-year-olds in environmental science by using animated and live-action videos, hands-on activities, web games and a free interactive mobile app (Plum’s Photo Hunt) for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The website, which was developed in Boston by WGBH, has been named a TECHwithKIDS.com Best Pick Website.
“WGBH has a long history of producing and developing educational content that entertains. PLUM LANDING takes full advantage of the interactive digital platforms, which are engaging more and more kids, and introduces younger children to environmental science,” said Brigid Sullivan, WGBH’s vice president for children’s media and educational programming. “We are excited to launch PLUM LANDING on Earth Day and offer parents and educators a free resource to further advance students’ scientific understanding.”
PLUM LANDING follows the adventures of Plum, a video game designer from the desolate Planet Blorb, who longs to experience nature. To realize this goal, Plum commandeers a space ship, zooms down to earth, befriends five eager kids—Clem, Oliver, Gabi, Brad, and Cooper—and launches them on missions as diverse as “find a lake in the desert!” and “search for a cow that lives under water!” Zeroing in on four ecosystems—the Australian desert, the mangroves of Belize, the Canadian Rockies and the jungles of Borneo—Plum discovers many fascinating, puzzling and profound things about Earth and uses what she learns to create explorer games for 6- to 9-year olds. On the PLUM LANDING website, kids can play these games and explore each of these exotic ecosystems.
“PLUM LANDING is a unique experience in the digital universe, designed to help kids develop a love for, and connection to, this amazing, beautiful, diverse and dramatic planet we call home,” says Kate Taylor, Senior Executive Producer for WGBH’s PLUM LANDING. “This curriculum also fills a gap in the resources currently available for teaching young children environmental science and the scientific concepts that underlie sustainability.”
PLUM LANDING’s website is the online hub for 30 animated videos forming the narrative of the series, which chronicles Plum’s visit to planet Earth and 20 live-action videos featuring real-life explorations, activities and educational content focused on the environments that Plum and her human friends explore. The website also includes nine games of exploration, creativity and scientific discovery, and nearly 100 galleries of missions where kids can create pictures and photographs to send to Plum for possible publication. The site, built in HTML5, is mobile and cross-platform.
Plum also encourages kids to investigate their own worlds with Plum’s Photo Hunt App. Available exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Plum’s Photo Hunt App is an educational photo-taking and sharing app designed to motivate kids to go outdoors and interact with nature. The free mobile app lets kids take photos, describe what they have found and send their findings back to Plum. Since going live last Friday, PLUM LANDING has already received nearly 8,000 images. The PLUM LANDING production team is able to review and moderate the content submitted by children in full compliance with the federal COPPA privacy regulations thanks to a comprehensive backend database, making PLUM LANDING one of several ambitious kid-produced WGBH content programs, including Design Squad and WGBH’s Zoom.
The PLUM LANDING production and the resources made available on the new website support WGBH’s efforts as a member of the 100Kin10 initiative to recruit, train and retain 100,000 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educators before 2021. Earlier this year, WGBH – because of its standing as the STEM lead for PBS LearningMedia – was named to the exclusive coalitions of organizations, research institutions and private companies focused on strengthening the United States’ STEM readiness. Resources from PLUM LANDING will be available on the PBS LearningMedia platform this summer.
Major funding for PLUM LANDING is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and The Kendeda Fund. Additional funding is provided by the Northern Research Station, Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Images of PLUM LANDING and Plum’s Photo Hunt App can be found on PBS PressRoom. Parents can start exploring with the PLUM LANDING community on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.