Filmmakers Celebrate Geology

Friends Go Public With Science

Devin Dennie, a doctoral geology student at the University of Oklahoma, and Todd Kent, a filmmaker with Savvy Center Digital Media in Dallas, have teamed up to produce GeoAmerica, a quickly paced travel show that focuses on the "earth science heritage," and uses history, folklore and casual personality to educate the public about their geological environment along the way.

Dennie is the "broadcast geologist host" for the programs.

Kent said GeoAmerica is meant to entertain while maintaining a high level of value and quality.

"The show integrates education with popular tourist locations and common every day concepts," Kent said. "Each episode revolved around a single scientific point in earth science heritage pertinent to that location."

Image Caption

Todd Kent videos Devin Dennie with the Wichita Mountains as a backdrop for an upcoming episode of GeoAmerica.
Photo courtesy of GeoAmerica

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Devin Dennie, a doctoral geology student at the University of Oklahoma, and Todd Kent, a filmmaker with Savvy Center Digital Media in Dallas, have teamed up to produce GeoAmerica, a quickly paced travel show that focuses on the "earth science heritage," and uses history, folklore and casual personality to educate the public about their geological environment along the way.

Dennie is the "broadcast geologist host" for the programs.

Kent said GeoAmerica is meant to entertain while maintaining a high level of value and quality.

"The show integrates education with popular tourist locations and common every day concepts," Kent said. "Each episode revolved around a single scientific point in earth science heritage pertinent to that location."

Earth science heritage?

"It is the part of our lives and histories that are intimately related to our continent and its resources," he continued, "whether it's the rock in our patio floor, the steep mountain bike trail you ride on, your granite countertops, the salt on your food or the gas in your car. Geology is in everything — everywhere.

"A major goal is to open the eyes of our viewers to these relationships," he said. "We hope to generate interest in geosciences within our youth, change understandings on climate and environmentalism and generate a better appreciation of the role of natural resources in everyday life."

The idea for GeoAmerica grew out of a college project when Kent was studying at the University of North Texas, where he was to create and produce a television program as a project. He collaborated with his childhood friend, who was then completing his master's at Texas Christian University, to produce "North Texas Explorer," a science-based travel magazine for North Central Texas.

"We initiated 'North Texas Explorer' on a shoestring budget using school equipment and shot mainly after school and on weekends," Kent said. With limited funds, they began distributing the show to other cable channels. It quickly grew to as many as 10 stations in Texas and New Mexico and developed a large online following due to the streaming videos of the show on their Web site, OutdoorFlix.com and www.geoamerica.tv.

"With NTE, we proved it is possible to take a relatively uniform geologic area and make a recurrent, interesting show that utilizes earth science content in a travel show format. GeoAmerica is a natural progression of what we began with North Texas Explorer," Dennie said.

The two gathered more footage at the AAPG Annual Meeting in Dallas, interviewing geologists and going on a pre-convention field trip.

Dennie founded and is president of Explorer Multimedia, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to gather funds for GeoAmerica, with plans to produce visual products for classroom and exhibits use.

Their vision has gotten some traction recently, with the University of Oklahoma agreeing to provide some support.

Plans are also in the works for similar GeoAmerica shows on archeology, geography and other sciences. The goal is to meet two-year funding goals for the first full season of GeoAmerica.

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