The Science of Sustainability

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


Expands to Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Southeast Regions
Television Season Premieres October 16

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

San Francisco, CA, September 24, 2013 – QUEST, an 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.

New QUEST Host Simran Sethi

New QUEST Host Simran Sethi (Photo Credit: Amanda Friedman)

The launch of its television season on October 16 kicks off a fresh chapter for QUEST. The episodes focus on the many ways in which science, technology, engineering and sheer ingenuity are being used to address sustainability issues related to food, energy, water, 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.

From Farm to Fork to Fuel

From Farm to Fork to Fuel. A bin of organic apples on sale at Bi-Rite market in San Francisco. Fresh fruits and vegetables have some of the highest rates of food waste, with more than half being thrown out in the U.S., according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. (Photo Credit: QUEST Northern California-Sheraz Sadiq, KQED)

“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, 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).

Restoring America's Waters

Restoring America's Waters. An oyster reef’s health depends on where it rests in the inter-tidal zone. Scientists at UNC are measuring the reef’s morphology to determine the ideal depth for future restoration projects. (Photo Credit: QUEST North Carolina- David Huppert, UNC-TV)

QUEST’s fall television lineup includes the following five half-hour episodes:
From Farm to Fork to Fuel– 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 – 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 – Examines the world’s largest solar thermal farm in California; fracking in Ohio; and new energy-efficient home designs in Missouri

America's Energy Future

America's Energy Future. The Ivanpah solar project, outside Las Vegas, is the world's largest solar thermal plant. It produces electricity by boiling water atop three 450-foot towers. The resulting steam powers turbines. (Photo Credit: Courtesy BrightSource)

Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It?– 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
Next Meal: Engineering Food – Explores the science behind genetically engineered crops and what the future holds for research and regulations

QUEST’s transformation into a multistation science series with deep roots in local communities around the country has made it possible to look at the same sustainability issues across many regions,” says Kit Jensen, chief operating officer of WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN and WCLV 104.9 ideastream (QUEST Ohio).

Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It? Sienna Hartman, Maya Norris and Caitlin Curley take a ride around Emerald Bay. (Photo Credit: QUEST Northern California-Arwen Curry, KQED)

Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It? Sienna Hartman, Maya Norris and Caitlin Curley take a ride around Emerald Bay.

“The project is a great fit for ideastream and the organization’s mission to strengthen our communities, and demonstrates how stations can partner to create multiple media content for lifelong learning.”

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

Next Meal: Engineering Food

Next Meal: Engineering Food. UC Berkeley biologist Peggy Lemaux is genetically engineering sorghum to make it more easily digestible. Sorghum, a cereal related to corn, is a staple food for 300 million people in Africa. (Photo Credit: QUEST Northern California-Arwen Curry, KQED)

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 also 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. 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.