A few of you, not as much as that quality show really deserved, watched The Great American Road Trip last summer. I have no idea whether there will be a 2nd season of that, but in the interim an Internet equivalent on a scaled-down level is available. It is called Race to the Moment with Jeff Corwin, who is kind of like a Phil Keoghan-type American conservationist and Animal Planet host who has inherited the mantle of the deceased "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin. I really like Jeff Corwin as well as Phil and, before his untimely death, Steve. I also really like this show. The sponsors of this Internet reality show are Benadryl(R) and the National Park Foundation. This competition can be found at www.racetothemoment.com
. Here is how it works:
Set in and around California's Joshua Tree National Park, "Race to the Moment" showcases the picturesque beauty of one of America's nearly 400 national parks. Whether they are rock climbing, panning for gold or trying their skills at bird calling, the families will experience some of nature's greatest treasures. You should click on the "Meet the Families" link so you can learn who they are. the support of Benadryl was possible because the end of these is effectively an infomercial, but it's relatively short and classy. There are two families competing, the McNertrys from Angola Iowa (farmer Tim, mother and Mrs. Iowa Loni, blond daughter Savannah and dark-haired daughter Sydney) and the almost certainly Irish O'Briens from the Bronx NY (hospice nurse Roxanne, father Michael, sons Conor and Aidan). Both families are highly photogenic, especially Savannah and Sydney. "Race to the Moment" tests the outdoor skills and teamwork of those families as they compete against each other in a series of physical and mental challenges. The winning family will receive an all expenses paid trip to the national park of their choice.
The families are shown preparing for the race by shopping at Wal-Mart to buy various Benadryl allergy and anti-itch products as well as a designated list of gear and supplies. At Joshua Tree National Park the first day competition starts with a relay race to the top of a rock face. The members of each team are given safety gear, some climbing instruction and then go up as fast as they can with timing taken. The girls beat the boys badly and earn a big lead on the first part of Episode 1. The second part of the competition is a geography challenge. A map of the US is posted for each team with presumably 50 or 51 pieces, one for a national park or equivalent in each state and maybe the District of Columbia. A designated geographer (Tim vs. Conor) competes to draw 7 pieces at random and place them correctly. If they need assistance, a list of states for each park on a piece is available a moderate distance away which will be an effective penalty if the designated geographer needs them. They both have some wrong placements, but Tim decides to go for the assistance first and he wins this one. The McNertrys are now leading by about 2 minutes time. The final day 1 competition concerns photography of plants. The whole team is engaged is finding and taking pictures of plants the match the 5 posted on a board. When correct, their clock stops. The O'Briens finished ahead in this one by about 2 minutes so Jeff being a kindly soul declared that both families get the day 1 reward, which is a helicopter ride of Joshua Tree National Park. Any show that has a geography challenge is a winner and that is certainly the case in Race to the Moment.
Day 2 competition will be available on the Internet some time soon.
Whether you're venturing out to a national park or the park down the street, Jeff Corwin suggests a few simple tips to help you make the most out of any outdoor moment:
-- Always Be Prepared -Don't forget necessities such as water and a flashlight, as well as a first aid kit and any medication you may need. For people with allergies, this probably includes an allergy medication. However, just as you would at home, keep all medicines and first aid supplies out of the reach of children.
-- Maintain Your Distance- While the national parks are available for everyone to enjoy, they also serve to protect wildlife and their habitats. Therefore, when observing animals in the wild, use your common sense, follow the rules of the park and keep a safe distance from all wildlife. Protect yourself and the animals to promote good stewardship of the environment.
-- Don't Miss a Moment -Whether you're venturing out to a national park or staying closer to home, it's always good to do your research before heading outdoors. Our natural spaces have a lot to offer, so select a site that has the features and activities that you and your family can enjoy together.
-- Preserve the Parks - It is very important that we care for our parks and ensure that present and future generations can continue to enjoy them.