It’s like Car Talk, but with nature.
Podcasts are all the rage these days. From Star Wars movies to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk, there seems to be a podcast on every topic imaginable. But for those whose passion resides in the great outdoors, Nature Guys will satisfy and entertain.
Nature Guys is the spiritual successor of NPR’s Car Talk, only instead of teaching owners how to best fix their old junkers, hosts Bill Creasey and Bob Staggenborg explain how wood frogs survive the winter by freezing solid or how to make sassafrass tea. The two met through the Cincinnati Nature Center, where Bill was the chief naturalist for over 40 years and Bob volunteered as a hike leader for school groups. They got to know each other leading wildflower hikes for the Arc of Appalachia’s Wildflower Pilgrimage. Their rapport was so entertaining to hikers that one suggested they start a podcast. Soon after, in October 2016, Nature Guys launched.
Weekly episodes focus on plants, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals you could recognize in your own backyard and last about 20 minutes, perfect for adults on the way home from work or for kids on the bus ride home. Bill’s knowledge of wildlife is enormous and he can speak about nearly any species with authority. You’ll find yourself learning new things about animals or plants that you thought you knew. But the best part of Nature Guys is without a doubt its hosts. Bill and Bob are remarkably fun to listen to and enjoy each other in a way that’s genuine. You just happen to learn along the way.
How to incorporate in the classroom:
- Assign an episode for students as homework: With over 100 episodes, there’s already a vast collection of species and concepts featured. The search function the Nature Guys website allows for you to search their entire library. Listen to the episode on Cooper’s Hawks to learn about apex predators or the episode on Japanese Beetles to learn about invasive species.
- Flipped classroom discussions or writing: Choose an episode for your class to listen to at home. The next day, discuss what they learned and questions they would like like to ask Bob and Bill.
- Inspire students: Kids love animals and sharing an episode Nature Guys could be a great way to foster their interest. Have a student choose an animal they like and listen to the podcast, the have them write a few paragraphs on why that species is so important to their local ecosystem.