‘In the Garden’ wins third EMMY

North Carolina State University’s “In the Garden with Bryce Lane” was named top instructional/informational TV series in the mid-South, winning its third regional EMMY® Award in Nashville, Tennessee. The award capped an 11-season run for the show on North Carolina’s public television network, UNC-TV.

The regional EMMYs were announced Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ (NATAS) 29th annual awards ceremony.

Receiving the award for “In the Garden” were Lane, retired College of Agriculture and Life Sciences horticultural science instructor; Simone Keith, videographer and editor with NC State’s University Communications; and Sonya Williams Harris, producer and assistant editor, formerly with University Communications.

This year’s EMMY awards honored productions for the year 2013, which was the final season of “In the Garden.” Covering an array of gardening subjects, including plant identification and propagation, treatment for diseased plants, soil composition and home landscaping techniques, the series also delved into the science behind plants and plant growth.

When the show was launched in 2003, the goal was two-fold: to create an entertaining TV series that also served as a horticulture distance-education course for which viewers could earn college credit. Over the years, “In the Garden” proved popular with high-school teachers, who used recordings in their horticulture classes, and with county Cooperative Extension agents, who used them to train Extension Master Gardener volunteers and others.

Keith and Lane both expressed pride at having been selected for the award by professional peers from other regions who served as volunteer NATAS judges. NATAS is a non-profit, professional organization dedicated to fostering excellence in television. It has 19 chapters with 15,000 members nationwide.

Keith and Lane also noted the show’s commitment to education. As Lane said, “I think what separates our show from other similar home-and-garden type shows is that with everything we did, the goal was to teach and to do it in a way that was realistic.

“In other words, everything I did on camera, I did,” he said. “There wasn’t a crew that came in behind me off camera. We were doing it so people would know how hard or how easy it would be to do what we were demonstrating.

“Also, we provided research-based information, and we did so in a way that was informative and inspirational and provided an opportunity for people to apply what they’d learned.”

Keith added that the series was also a great way to showcase the university’s influence in the horticultural world. The show’s crew traveled out of state several times to noted public gardens, and each time they found ways to demonstrate ties to the university. For example, they highlighted plants that were introduced by CALS’ JC Raulston Arboretum, and they interviewed alumni with distinguished careers in the horticultural industry.

Keith said that she hopes the university will continue using broadcast television as a means of shedding light on what the university does best and of helping achieve its outreach mission. While the medium isn’t perceived “as modern or avant garde as social media, for example,” she said, “it does have incredible value.”

At one point, Lane noted, UNC-TV passed along statistics that indicated a regular viewership of 100,000 and 150,000 people. And the series’ reach continues to grow. Today, episodes from the final four years continue to be available online, for free viewing, at http://www.unctv.org/content/inthegarden

-Dee Shore

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