"Sesame Street's 40th season aims to educate children about the wonders of the natural world and teach them about concepts such as habitats, hibernation, and migration.
No matter where they live, "we want kids to know there's nature in their neighborhoods," Truglio said. In tomorrow's premiere episode, Michelle Obama—fresh from harvesting the White House's new organic garden in the heart of Washington, D.C.—will help Elmo and Big Bird plant vegetables in the ersatz inner city of Sesame Street."
"Elmo and Abby decide to help Bert find this pigeon, and in their search they run into all these other kinds of birds. After kids watch this show, they'll be able to identify chickadees, blue jays, robins, and blue bar pigeons by their shape, size, and birdcall."
"Global warming and deforestation—those are really adult concepts, and it's just too scary for children," said Rosemarie Truglio, vice president of research and education at Sesame Workshop, the New York City-based nonprofit that produces Sesame Street.
"The place we're coming from is, 'Let's love and care for the Earth, because it's so beautiful, and we appreciate its awe and wonder, and we're going to respect it.'"
Sesame Street's producers hope that children who learn to love and respect nature early on will grow up to become passionate advocates for our planet.
"When you love something," Truglio said, "you want to take care of it."
To see the full National Geographic article, allons-y.