St. Louis Students Star in National PBS Series
Four Girls from St. Roch School Selected for SciGirls, Airing May 1 on Nine PBS
St. Louis, MO - April 15, 2015 - Four 12-year-old girls from St. Roch School in the Central West End were selected last year to star in an episode of the national PBS series SciGirls. The episode, Frog Whisperers, will be broadcast by the Nine Network of Public Media on Friday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. and again on Friday, June 12 at 4:30 p.m. on Nine PBS.
Now age 13, the girls-Alanna Hopson-Morris and Madison Fuller of the Central West End, and Clara Barton and Amanda Willingham of University City-auditioned last year with nearly 100 girls in the St. Louis area. Producers said the foursome jumped out at them. The girls have been friends since kindergarten, and their longstanding friendship and comfort with one another signaled to producers that they would have a positive experience on a SciGirls investigation.
“Each of them is incredibly bright, curious and determined-and their strong group dynamic made them shine as a team,” said executive producer Richard Hudson.
SciGirls challenges real middle school girls and their professional mentor to become citizen scientists by using skills in science, technology, engineering and math. Every episode features animated characters Izzie and Jake, who find themselves in situations that can only be solved by the SciGirls.
In April 2014, the SciGirls production crew came to St. Louis and spent a week recording the Frog Whisperers episode. In it, Amanda, Alanna, Clara and Madison volunteer for FrogWatch USA, a citizen science project that invites nature lovers to report frog and toad calls within a specific area. With the guidance of their mentor, Laura Seger, the early childhood programs coordinator at the St. Louis Zoo, the girls learn to recognize the sounds of six local frog species. After listening to frogs in their natural and urban habitats, the girls enter their data into the FrogWatch USA website and share their findings at the St. Louis Zoo.
SciGirls will air Fridays at 4:30 p.m. on Nine PBS beginning May 1. In other episodes this season, different groups of girls track the changing seasons, verify satellite imagery of clouds, monitor fragile butterfly populations, improve urban bird habitats and advocate for healthy oceans.
About the Nine Network of Public Media
The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted public media organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life, including the Nine Center for Public Engagement, www.nineNet.org and four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine Kids). The Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our mission of bringing St. Louis together as we connect our region to the world and the world to St. Louis.