Filmmakers from SisBro Studios, under contract of the Jim Henson Company and Herschend Enterprises, recently visited Sanibel Sea School to film a series of episodes for an upcoming PBS KIDS television show, called SPLASH.
Developed for kids ages 4-7, SPLASH will be an animated series that dives into marine biology and ocean science, with a focus on helping kids build social-emotional skills and develop an understanding of the interconnectedness between all creatures on our planet. Sanibel Sea School students will appear in a number of the show’s 40 episodes.
While planning new programming, executives at PBS noticed a lack of ocean education media for young kids, and decided to help fill the gap. “Oceans cover the majority of the Earth’s surface, but there is a profound lack of educational media for young children that explores the science of the fascinating world under the sea,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager of Children’s Media for PBS, “SPLASH will introduce kids to the wonders of marine biology, building science skills and fostering an appreciation for the biodiversity that lives in our oceans.”
The show will follow the adventures of its title character, a yellow fusilier fish who has migrated all over the oceans before settling down with his family in Reeftown. There, he teaches his fellow residents about what exists beyond the cozy confines of their coral walls. Together, Splash and his friends explore the world’s oceans, where they meet wildly diverse marine animals and discover otherworldly undersea habitats, bringing back what they’ve learned to share with their neighbors.
During filming on Sanibel, students from The Heights Foundation, a Sanibel Sea School partner organization, shared their impressions of seeing the Gulf of Mexico from a new perspective. Kids also participated in a reusable bag giveaway at Bailey’s General Store, a beach cleanup, and the construction of a life-sized whale shark sand sculpture near Lighthouse Beach. Filmmakers captured footage of Sanibel’s unique ocean inhabitants, like sand dollars, mole crabs, and coquinas.
“SPLASH creators’ objectives are very well aligned with our mission at Sanibel Sea School – to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time,” says the organization’s Executive Director, Dr. Bruce Neill, “In an ideal world, every child would have the opportunity to explore the ocean in person, but that’s not realistic, so television programs like this are an excellent way to reach and inspire kids who are far from the sea.”