Well, not quite. For one thing, when I’m doing fieldwork, my “office” is outdoors. And Sunday is supposed to be the one day a week when I don’t deal with anoles. Nevertheless, I headed to Matheson Hammock Park in South Miami on Sunday morning to catch lizards. But unlike my typical days in the field, I wasn’t alone. Instead, I met up with photographer Ian Shive, two well known TV actors (Stephen Colletti and Stuart Lafferty), and a small film crew.
Shive and his crew were in Florida filming a pilot for a new TV show, Wild Life: A New Generation of Wild. In Wild Life, which stars Colletti and the two Lafferty brothers (Stuart and his brother James, who couldn’t make it to the anole shoot), Shive wants to build the connection between people and nature, focusing on a younger generation of viewers. Young audiences already know the stars of Wild Life from their work on the series One Tree Hill. So as these TV role models explore some of America’s wild places, Shive hopes that kids and teens will realize that loving nature can be pretty cool.
My field sites in South Miami don’t quite count as “wild places,” but you can still find plenty of life even in small city parks. Stephen managed to noose a few anoles on his first try, which makes him better than some veteran anole researchers! We chatted about why I’m studying anoles, why we call them “invasive,” and why there are so many invasive species in South Florida.
All told, Shive and the Wild Life crew spent a week traveling all over Florida, visiting some spectacular places off the beaten track. I’m excited to see the finished pilot! (I’ll be sure to share as soon as I can.) I think using star power to sell young people on nature is a cool idea, and I really hope the Wild Life series takes off. Honestly, when it includes anoles, how can it fail?