Press Release (UCTV): UCLA Geography Professor Surfs His Way Towards “The World’s Most Endangered Forests” (9/22/2010)

Documentary of his journey across Oceania premieres nationally on UCTV

September 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA — It sounds like a surfer s dream; grab your board and paddle your way across the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean all in the name of science. That s what Thomas Gillespie, associate professor of geography at UCLA, did while conducting his National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research to locate The World s Most Endangered Forests .With support from the National Geographic Society and the NSF, Gillespie s fascinating experiences are now part of a documentary premiering October 12 at 9pm (PT/ET) on University of California Television (UCTV), available in Los Angeles and nationwide.

Using many of the same principles he contributed to help theorize Osama bin Laden s location (see UCLA Newsroom), Gillespie s engaging documentary points us to the planet s danger zones and illustrates why they are in such trouble. Incorporating everything from ethnography to biology, the 30-minute program introduces audiences to many of the techniques bio-geographers and ecosystem researchers use to understand these struggling tropical dry forests, while also having some fun along the way.

In character with Gillespie s laid-back, California-world-trekking-surfer style, the footage was shot on location in some of the best and lesser known island locations across Oceania, from Hawai i to New Caledonia. While explaining the state of these biodiversity hotspots, how they got that way, and what can be done to save them (it s easier than you d think), The World s Most Endangered Forests also gives a real feel for the cultures in and around these forests, and the people who work to protect these ecosystems today.

Produced by Victoria Michelle and Spencer Rothermel of LA s Beach Buddha productions, the program has a fun and inventive flair that teaches audiences more than they ve ever known about these critical biodiversity hotspots, without them even knowing it.

UCTV broadcasts educational and enrichment programming from the campuses, national laboratories, and affiliated institutions of the University of California, reaching 22 million homes nationwide on Dish Network satellite (Ch. 9412) and cable, including Time Warner in Los Angeles on the following channels:

West San Fernando Valley --- Ch. 37
Sylmar --- Ch. 99
East San Fernando Valley Ch. 97
Sunland/Tujunga --- Ch. 99
West Los Angeles --- Ch. 25
Sherman Oaks --- Ch. 25
Eagle Rock --- Ch. 25
Hollywood / Wilshire --- Ch. 28
Westchester --- Ch. 28
South Los Angeles --- Ch. 28
Boyle Heights / East LA --- Ch. 25
Harbor / Wilmington --- Ch. 99

UCTV is also available through live webstream, video archives and podcast downloads. More information at

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