"Growing Better" Webisode Brings Love of Botany to Internet

Dr. Chris Martine is excited about botany.

The associate professor of biology is doing his part to help others catch that excitement, through an online video series called "Growing Better."

"My vision all along has been to create a television show that does for plants what a show like 'Crocodile Hunter' does for animals," said Martine. "If you turn on Animal Planet, Science Channel or Discovery Channel, there are a lot of shows about animals and a lot of people getting excited about animals and getting other people excited as well, but there's nothing about plants.

"I'm not talking about a gardening show. I'm talking about a science-based show about plants. There are so many amazing stories out there," he said.

First Webisode Listed as "Noteworthy" by ChloroFilms

Martine was encouraged in his efforts by a group called ChloroFilms. It's sponsoring a contest in an effort to get more plant-related films on the Internet. ChloroFilms' intention is to promote the creation of fresh, attention-getting and informative video content about plant life and to make the best of these videos available on a single online site.

Learn more about biological science programs at SUNY Plattsburgh

In its contest Web site, ChloroFilms links to Martine's first Webisode, "Growing Better: The Oaks," calling it a noteworthy video.

"When they used that as an example," said Martine, "I felt like we'd better do another one for the contest."

Martine received further encouragement from the Botanical Society of America, a group that has Martine as a member. In fact, Martine helped students at SUNY Plattsburgh form the first student chapter in the organization's history.

Of course, putting together a botany video during a North Country winter, presented its own challenges.

"We ended up filming in the snow," said Martine.

Helping Children Catch the "Botany Bug"

Martine, who has worked with children in the outdoors as an environmental educator and who does voluntary speaking engagements in the local schools, said that he especially wants to reach children through this project. That is why he includes them in the video.

"Really, what I'm doing with kids on the two videos is just like what I do when I go out and talk to kids," said Martine.

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