A new Detroit Public Television show that teaches kids about “Learning in the Wild” has been made possible by the Farmington Hills-based George F. Riley Foundation – but that’s not its only local connection.
Debuting at 7:30 p.m. on April 18, the show’s host is 11-year-old Mallory Farmer, whose dad is something of a local television personality. Bryan Farmer can often be seen on local government and public access television; he’s Deputy Director for the City of Farmington Hills Special Services Department.
“I just thought it would be cool,” Mallory said of her decision to audition for the role. “I’ve always wanted to be on TV because my dad is on TV.”
The show is a natural fit for the Pinckney 6th grader, who attends Navigator Upper Elementary School. She enjoys soccer, archery, and “just playing outside.”
“I like the feel of nature,” she said. “You to breathe in fresh air, and see wild life, and experience different things.”
“Learning in the Wild” takes viewers on a tour of the Riley Wilderness Youth Camp, a summer experience for youth ages 9 to 14. Kids attend on scholarship based on criteria that include limited experience with hunting and the outdoors, not having earned a Michigan Hunter Safety Certificate, and lack of family resources to provide a camping experience.
Bryan Farmer said that when he met George Riley, the Farmington Hills philanthropist asked him to get the word out about the camp. And the show, he said, is “really about getting kids outdoors.”
“It’s a lot about educating kids that there’s a lot available to them,” he added.
Mallory said she wasn’t really nervous, and the whole video shoot took about an hour. She especially enjoyed being on different sets, including the Dept. of Natural Resources Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit.
“On one of them, I got to sit in a kayak,” she said. “That was pretty cool.”
Mallory and her dad don’t know whether “Learning in the Wild” will be a one-time show or a continuing series, but it doesn’t seem to have influenced Mallory’s choice of a future profession.
“I’ve always had my heart set on being a doctor, in the medical field, or a singer,” she said.