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Maine Public's new outdoors show Borealis premieres Thursday night. Here's what you can expect

Maine Public's host Aislinn Sarnacki with other hikers on a trail
Aislinn Sarnacki
Borealis host Aislinn Sarnacki with other hikers on a trail.

Maine Public Television will debut a new series called Borealis tonight at 8 pm. It's a multiplatform project that celebrates the nature of Maine.

The host, Aislinn Sarnacki has been an outdoor reporter in Maine for over a decade, and is also a registered Maine Guide. She joined Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz to discuss the series.

Aislinn Sarnacki
Aislinn Sarnacki and Juno the dog.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Irwin Gratz: Tell us about some of the stories folks are going to see tonight.

Aislinn Sarnacki: I went out to Schoodic Peninsula to check out this program called Schoodic Education Adventure that educates middle school students and also fifth grade. There's a citizen science component of that as well, where the kids go out and search for green crabs and participate in the study. And we have also a story about fly fishing. That's another theme that we want to address in Borealis is making the outdoors for everyone, making it accessible. And then we have a story about alewives for people who are interested in fish. That particular story focuses on fish migration, and how that's returning to Maine rivers due to fish ladders and removals of dams.

Talk a little bit about the Nyle Sockbeson story.

Nyle is an Appalachian Trail hiker and so many other things, but he is from the Penobscot Nation on Indian Island and he just hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and during his trip raised awareness about the Indigenous lands along the trail. And also just shared his culture and his perspective with hikers along the trail, people he met along the trail. I got a hold of him on Instagram. It took a few weeks because he's, you know, in the woods hiking. And then we met up with him in Monson. Right before he hit the Hundred Mile Wilderness, which is like a week without any civilization. It's the most remote section of trail right here in Maine, from Monson to Baxter State Park. So we caught him before that. And then logistically, I figured out how to catch up with him again, in Baxter, because I wanted to see him finish the trail. And you finish up the trail on top of Katahdin, Maine's tallest mountain. I had to get up around three in the morning, and I hiked the mountain ahead of him, and then sat on a rock and waited for him to come up. And it worked out. So all that footage you see on top of the mountain is from me, and I'm very proud of it.

There will be some other ways to watch these Borealis stories —tell us about that.

This is a multi-platform project. So we're gonna have podcasts, radio, television, YouTube. And so we are launching different stories on YouTube and extras on YouTube. So things that we couldn't fit into the stories for television, like Nyle showing us all the things he puts in his backpack to do the Hundred Mile Wilderness, that's on YouTube. There's all these little extras that we're going to be putting out there. And yeah, you get to do these sneak peeks of some of the stories as well.

Excited for tonight's premiere?

So excited. Yes, it's a little weird to see me on television. But I mean, it's just such a cool project and we have such a great team. I've loved working with Brian Bechard and Jennifer Rooks and just all the people that I've gotten to work with on this and I'm excited to see our little baby go into the world, see how people enjoy it.

More information about Borealis is available at https://www.mainepublic.org/borealis.