Mark your calendar for Oct. 9. A new documentary series is coming to a computer screen near you, and it's one that you're going to want to watch with the whole family.  

"EarthEcho Expedition: Into the Dead Zone" aims to engage kids in environmental discovery and spur them to action with an in-depth look at one of the world’s largest aquatic dead zones located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. From investigating the depths of urban storm drains to scuba diving in the heart of the Bay, Philippe Cousteau — grandson of Jacques Cousteau — and his team will immerse young people in an exciting exploration of one of the most important environments in the United States.

Known as America’s watershed, the bay and its surrounding communities are rich in history and were once plentiful in sea and wildlife, providing an ideal setting to explore both the environmental and economic impact of this critical global issue. But now, environmental pollution is causing "dead zones" within the Chesapeake Bay that are devoid of sea life, and they are destroying the delicate balance of the bay's once rich species diversity.

I was lucky enough to chat with Philippe Cousteau and Stacey Rafalowski (the education manager for the EarthEcho team) in the midst of filming this series about the Chesapeake Bay, and I was impressed with the passion Cousteau and the whole team have for the environmental message behind this project and for the need to engage kids in helping find a solution to the problem.

Case in point: The six-part "Into the Dead Zone" documentary series will coincide with service learning videos, how-to videos, webinars, online tutorials, lesson plans, and community action guides that kids, parents and teachers can use to get the most out the expedition. In addition to these resources, kids from all over the country will have the opportunity to chat with Cousteau one-on-one in Google Hangouts or participate in a projects in their classrooms via expedition-funded mini-grants.

The idea is to get kids actively engaged with Cousteau and with each other to brainstorm solutions to environmental issues and get them out in their communities to learn and make a difference. "The goal for us is to get people to realize that we all live upstream from one another," said Cousteau.

And as Rafalowski told me, "Science and discovery and adventure can happen right in your own backyard. For a long time we've put science in a laboratory, but there is so much science and so much learning that can just happen out of doors and that is a big part of what this expedition is all about."

I'll have more on the "EarthEcho: Into the Dead Zone" expedition and Cousteau in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out the EarthEcho website for more details on the documentary and to find out how your family, or your classroom, can get involved.

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