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KCETLink Debuts All-New EARTH FOCUS Special ‘Vanishing Coral’ and BLUE PLANET ‘Coral Seas’ April 18th

KCETLink Debuts All-New EARTH FOCUS Special ‘Vanishing Coral’ and BLUE PLANET ‘Coral Seas’ April 18th

By: Judy Shields

Long Beach, California (The Hollywood Times) April 17, 2017 – “Really spread the word, I think that is an important thing, if you can also limit your carbon footprint, conserving water, carpooling, recycling, ride your bike and all those things are important. 


If you want to do something to directly help reefs, maybe support an institution, like the Aquarium of the Pacific, or like the Sea Coral organization that have scientist, but just needs research on a bigger scale.”  Janet Monday, Senior Aquarist and Coral Expert at The Aquarium of the Pacific told the audience last week in the Ocean theatre at the screening of KCETLink Media Group’s “Earth Focus: Vanishing Coral.”

KCETLink Debuts All-New EARTH FOCUS Special ‘Vanishing Coral’ and BLUE PLANET ‘Coral Seas’ April 18th


Last Thursday night at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific KCETLink hosted a screening of the new EARTH FOCUS “Vanishing Coral” special and BLUE PLANET’s “Coral Seas” in its Ocean Theater. 

The Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit educational institution, displays coral in several exhibits and is involved in a coral restoration project in Guam.

There was a three member panel for discussion about these two films and a Q&A.  Here is a bio of the three panelists:

Kim Spencer – Senior Programming Executive, KCETLink Media Group (Panel Moderator)


Kim Spencer is a producer of more the 60 documentaries and news specials. He was a co-founder of Internews Network in 1983, which now supports independent media training in 40 countries. He won multiple Emmy Awards for the US-Soviet ‘spacebridge’ series Capital to Capital and was coordinating producer at the launch of ABC News “Prime Time Live”.

Kim Spencer PanelistWith French partners, Spencer co-developed the innovative Vis à Vis series: transcontinental video dialogues linking people ‘face to face’ from their homes and workplaces.


Spencer was the founder of Link Media and served as President of Link TV for 11 years before the merger with KCET, the major public broadcaster in Los Angeles.

Spencer helped create the award-winning daily news program Mosaic, the digital media platform, and served as Executive Producer of Earth Focus, the longest-running environmental program on American television. He is currently Senior Programming Executive of KCETLink Media Group.


Janet Monday PanelistJanet Monday – Senior Aquarist and Coral Expert (Panelist)

Janet received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Georgia. She started her career in husbandry in Atlanta before moving to the Aquarium of the Pacific eight years ago.

She has been able to take care of and raise a wide range of marine animals and is excited to be a part of current coral restoration projects, sponsored by the aquarium. She is devoted to conserving our oceans and the marine life that live in it.

Stephen Olson PanelistStephen Olson – Producer, EARTH FOCUS: VANISHING CORAL (Panelist)

Stephen Olsson, President of CEM Productions, (and former VP of Original Programming at Link TV) has produced and directed documentary films, television series and feature news reports throughout the world for US and European broadcasters. Stephen’s work has won numerous national and international awards, including the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award for Excellence in broadcast journalism and the George Foster Peabody Award. He is currently producing & directing Global Spirit – the first internal travel series on national television and the internet, – an inquiry into humankind’s belief systems, wisdom traditions and states of consciousness. Other current projects include: Healing A Soldier’s Heart, on PTSD and the traumatic impact of war on the human soul, and One Through Love, on the life and
teachings of the sufi mystical poet Hz. Jalaluddin Rumi.
Previous films include: Sound of the Soul, a portrait of The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, has been broadcast on national television networks in the US, Europe and Australia, and has screened in dozens of international film festivals including Tribeca, Tehran, Mill Valley, Dubai, Sarajevo, Jerusalem, Vancouver and others. Our House in Havana, broadcast nationally on PBS and throughout Europe, Japan, Canada and Latin America, Last Images of War, for the BBC, photographed in eight countries, narrated by actor Ben Kingsley, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, before receiving the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, and two additional National Emmy nominations. After September 11th, Olsson wrote and co-produced a re-release of the film for National Geographic Explorer. He also produced & directed: Afghanistan: The Fight For a Way of Life, which was broadcast throughout the world and cited by The New York Times as one of the best documentary films of the year. To Find the Baruya Story and Her Name Came on Arrows are two award-winning ethnographic films featuring the work of French anthropologist Maurice Godelier. John Collier: A Visual Journey, highlights the life’s work of visual anthropologist, educator and photographer John Collier Jr. Olsson was writer and Senior Producer of School Colors a feature-length documentary produced for the PBS Frontline series, which received the Dupont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, and was cited by The Boston Globe (and others) as one of the best television programs of the year. Stephen was a co-founder of the national satellite channel Link TV, where he produced and directed programs in all factual genres with a wide-range of personalities including journalist Walter Cronkite, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, actor Sean Penn, entertainer and social activist Harry Belafonte, linguist Noam Chomsky, singer and songwriter Willy Nelson, actor Ben Kingsley, writer and comedian John Cleese and others.
During his nine year tenure as Link TV’s VP of Original Programming, Stephen created a number of original television series, including the Peabody Award-winning: Mosaic: World News from the Middle East – the first regional news digest, broadcast daily for over eight years, The Active Opposition – a live, 90-minute current-affairs series hosted by actor Peter Coyote Global Spirit – the first internal travel series which brings together teachers from different wisdom, faith and scientific traditions to explore consciousness and spirituality in the 21st century (also broadcast on PBS), Bridge to Iran – a bi-lingual film/discussion series hosted by filmmaker Parisa Soultani, celebrating Iranian cinema and filmmakers, Spotlight, an international investigative series hosted by journalist/author Mark Hertsgaard, Lunch with Bokara, a 13-part series hosted by artist/performer Bokara Legendre exploring the intersection of philosophy, metaphysics, science and religion (also broadcast on PBS) and Explore China, the original pilot one-hour documentary which launched the Explore series, hosted by Charles Annenberg.
Olsson has also worked as a senior media consultant and project director for a number of media projects in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. He has directed large television projects in Ukraine and Pakistan and holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Communications.

Janet Monday:   Our main message that we strive to get across is conservation.  We do that through one on one interactions with an interpreter, we also have signage if people want to read the details on their own.  We have a lot of coral exhibits that we want our guests to appreciate.  I have been involved in a coral restoration project, that we sponsor called Seacore.  They focus on sexual coral reef production.  That increases the genetic diversity of a reef.  That was mentioned in the video.  By increasing the genetic diversity in a reef, you are able to hopefully set up that reef to withstand different pressures from ocean citification and climate change.  I spent some time over in Guam and collected the egg sperms bundles and put nets over the corals and collected them to bring back to the lab and cross-fertilize those, settle them out onto rocks.” 

An audience member asked a question about using sunscreen and protecting the coral reefs and us.  Janet Monday said that sunscreen is in fact bad for reefs and she recommend getting a rash guard, like long-sleeve rash guards that have spf on them.  Wearing a wet suit, which protects us from animals around the reef and protects us from having to wear sunscreen.

coral reef-seaturtle

Is the government helping with coral reefs?  There have been marine area which are protected.  Find out about who may be looping about saving the reefs.  Heal the Bay has petition that needs signatures for getting government funding for programs with help the coral reefs.  The petition can be found on KCETLink website at

This new documentary is very informative with beautiful underwater footage of colorful fish, amazing coral reefs and how important these reefs are to the animals that are alive because of them.  There is truly a great deal to learn about coral reefs and how important it is to keep them a part of our above life too. 

Please gather your family on Tuesday night to watch this program and make sure you record it on your DVR to show it again for some extra credit for your young children or grandchildren. I plan on introducing the show to my 6 and 14 year old grandsons. I sure learned so many things about coral reefs I had no idea before.  My carbon footprint will definitely change, more so than it currently is.  Everyone can help, think about your children and your grandchildren to come, give them what we have had all these years, before we as human beings, destroy all God gave us, above ground and under the sea.  Be mindful, not wasteful.

Some facts about coral reefs:

Vanishing Coral

In terms of their biodiversity, coral reefs, which cover an estimated 600,000 km squared, or more than 372,820,000 square miles, are homes and nurseries to 25 percent of all known marine species. Reefs and the biodiversity they support contribute directly to food security and provide biologically active compounds for the treatment of diseases including: AIDS, arthritis, asthma, cancer, and other inflammatory disorders. Coral reefs also safeguard land from destructive tsunamis that occur because of such things as oceanic earthquakes and landslides.

When coral is disturbed or destroyed, biodiversity and marine ecosystems are demolished, and coastal areas are put in peril.

In addition to being important in maintaining both ocean and human health, coral reefs also contribute to one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy—coastal tourism.

bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef photo by Oregon State University

Coral are interesting animals that have a symbiotic relationship with small organisms, called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae eat the waste of the coral polyps, and in return provide the corals with nutrients that help create the bright and varied colors of the coral reef.

Warmer temperatures cause coral bleaching which is the whitening of coral colonies due to the loss of zooxanthellae from the tissues of polyps or by the decrease of photosynthetic pigments within the zooxanthellae, is predicted to be a great problem that will drastically diminish the number of the world’s coral reefs by 2050, but each of us can do things to help reverse the trend.

To help slow and maybe even reverse pending disaster for the world’s coral reefs, start conserving as much energy as you can, in whatever ways you are able, like planning to make all stops to a given area on the same day in order to avoid excess car trips.  If you can, take public transportation, walk, or ride a bicycle, JUST DO IT!

You could also buy energy efficient appliances when you need to replace old ones, use compact fluorescent light bulbs, called CFLs.  Conserve water as much as possible, shorter showers, and don’t keep the water running when you brush your teeth and even when washing the dishes.  Even if we all do only one or two things to conserve our environment, we can and should make a difference.

With Focus on Saving Coral Reefs, KCETLink Debuts All-New EARTH FOCUS Special ‘Vanishing Coral’ and BLUE PLANET ‘Coral Seas’ April 18th.

Air New Zealand Partners To Kick Off Sweepstakes Offering Chance to Visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Community Partner Aquarium of the Pacific To Host April Screening for Members; Heal The Bay Takes on Role as Social Activation Partner With Online Petition to Restore EPA Funding for Climate Change Science

KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent non-profit public broadcast and digital network, announced today the launch of a multi-pronged campaign around two critical documentaries that explore one of the most valuable ecosystems on earth. KCET and Link TV will premiere a special installment of American television’s longest running environmental investigative series, EARTH FOCUS, titled “Vanishing Coral,” which uncovers the devastating effects of coral bleaching as the result of warming oceans, while BLUE PLANET “Coral Seas” on KCET explores the dramatic formation of a coral reef. EARTH FOCUS “Vanishing Coral” will premiere on Tues., Apr. 18 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET in Southern California and Link TV Nationwide (DirecTV 374 and DISH Network 9410). Additionally, the program will be available for streaming on and

BLUE PLANET “Coral Seas” will make its KCET debut on Tues., April 18 at 9 p.m. PT for Southern California viewers.

At 8:30 p.m., EARTH FOCUS: “Vanishing Coral” comes during a pivotal time when coral reef populations are declining at a rapid pace. In 2016, a warm spell attributed to climate change caused bleaching of one-third of the Great Barrier Reef along the eastern coast of Australia that is 5,000 to 10,000 years old. Reefs in the Florida Keys have declined by 80% over the past three decades and scientists warn that all Caribbean coral could disappear in the next 20 years. One of the most diverse and complex ecosystems on the planet, the coral reefs provide livelihoods, food and important shoreline protection in many regions. Though they make up less than 1% of the oceans, reefs are home to 25% of fish and other marine life.

“Vanishing Coral” presents the personal story of scientists and naturalists who are working with local communities to protect coral reefs that are being destroyed by warming seas, pollution, and destructive fishing practices. Featured in the documentary is the President of the Biosphere Foundation Abigail Alling, marine biologist and coral expert Phil Dustan, captain of the Mir research sailing vessel Mark Van Thillo, and Nono Suparno, a leading conservationist in Bali.

Then at 9 p.m. the critically acclaimed BBC series BLUE PLANET, the definitive natural history series hosted by Sir David Attenborough exploring the world’s oceans, offers some of the most visually stunning footage of the ocean’s darkest depths and boldly investigates uncharted territories, giving viewers a glimpse at never-before seen sea creatures and underwater ecosystems that are just now beginning to be understood.

The episode “Coral Seas” uses incredible time-lapse photography to show the dramatic formation of a coral reef, portraying its myriad inhabitants and its ultimate destruction referring to them as “the rainforests of the sea.”

By joining forces with three outside partners, Air New Zealand, the Aquarium of the Pacific and Heal The Bay, KCET and Link TV aim to reach a wider audience with critical issues surrounding some of our most precious and beautiful underwater colonies. 

“We are grateful to Air New Zealand for providing an amazing opportunity to travel to an area of the world where some of our greatest reefs inhabit the ocean; to Aquarium of the Pacific, which has made valuable contributions to marine education in our community; and to Heal the Bay, to help our viewers advocate for a healthier environment,” said President and Chief Executive Officer KCETLink Media Group Michael Riley.

“With coral reef populations declining significantly in the past decade, this wide-reaching initiative supports our mission to increase the impact of our storytelling around environmental issues that affect the global community.”

Starting March 15, KCET will launch a special sweepstakes where a lucky winner and their guest will experience an Australian vacation, including round-trip airfare courtesy Air New Zealand and travel vouchers from Discover Queensland, giving travelers the flexibility to create the trip of their dreams. This once-in-a-lifetime trip to beautiful Queensland provides an opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system stretching over 1,600 miles and dating back thousands of years.

The winner has the opportunity to experience firsthand how coral reefs play such a crucial role in the well-being of our planet. By making a contribution to KCET via by April 30, 2017, entrants will be automatically entered to win. More details can be found by visiting starting March 15 and running through April 30, 2017. No donation is required for entry.

KCETLink Media Group has partnered with Heal The Bay to give viewers of the coral reef programs and the online web content an outlet to take direct action. Heal the Bay uses science, education, community action, and advocacy to implement change and has recently started a petition to maintain funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The campaign is asking that EPA funding be restored for climate change science, as recent budget proposals under the new federal administration would dramatically slash funding for these critical programs.

Viewers are also invited to participate in Heal the Bay’s biggest beach cleanup of the year, to be held Saturday, April 15, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. Thousands of volunteers will learn more about threats to our ocean ecosystems and how to protect our special places.

A dedicated EARTH FOCUS: “Vanishing Coral” online content hub for each KCETLink service at and will present an array of programming to highlight ocean conservation and coral reef information that provides viewers with an immersive and educational viewing experience. Content will include an introductory  lesson on why coral reefs are important for our  ecosystem and for human society, what can be done to protect the reefs, California’s native corals, as well as a look at how coral reefs and their inhabitants are represented in pop culture.

EARTH FOCUS is a weekly half-hour program that is the longest-running environmental series on U.S. television. In production since 2006, the series features in-depth reports on key issues such as endangered species, climate change, environmental health and sustainable practices. For more information and to watch episodes online, visit or  Funding for this special edition of EARTH FOCUS was provided by a grant from the Marisla Fund of the Orange County Community Foundation and individual donors. “Vanishing Coral” was produced and directed by Stephen Olsson.

To learn more, please visit or or on social media use #CoralReefs


KCETLink Media Group, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media.

A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV – DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 – and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit or Select programming from KCET and Link TV is also available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV, and Roku platforms.


About Air New Zealand: Air New Zealand operates on average 500 flights a day connecting customers to 22 destinations within New Zealand and to international ports across Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, South America, and the Pacific Islands. North American services include non-stop flights to New Zealand from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Honolulu and Vancouver B.C., and Los Angeles non-stop flights to the Cook Islands and London. For more information about Air New Zealand visit


The Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth most-attended aquarium in the nation. It displays over 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits that represent the diversity of the Pacific Ocean. Each year more than 1.7 million people visit the Aquarium. Beyond its world-class animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists.

Through these programs and a variety of multimedia experience, the Aquarium provides opportunities to delve deeper into ocean science and learn more about our planet. The Aquarium of the Pacific has redefined the modern aquarium. It is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and a place where important topics facing our planet and our ocean are explored by scientists, policymakers and stakeholders in the search for sustainable solutions.


Heal the Bay is a Santa Monica-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our local beaches, inland watersheds and ocean. The volunteer-driven organization has a 32-year track record of using sound science, passionate advocacy and community engagement to keep our coastline clean and vibrant. The group issues water quality grades for more than 500 beaches each week, conducts monthly beach cleanups and operates the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, among many other programs.