TV

Ted Turner's daughter takes love of weeding to public TV

Jennie Turner Garlington worked on an EcoSense for Living episode at the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The program mixes everyday green living with larger environmental concepts.
Jennie Turner Garlington worked on an EcoSense for Living episode at the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The program mixes everyday green living with larger environmental concepts.

Saturday mornings at Jennie Turner Garlington's childhood home often focused on one activity: weeding. And she says she loved it.

"That was a fun project for us," Garlington said. "Now, I don't think there's a child out there that does that because our lawns are a cesspool of chemicals and they're perfect — they all look like golf courses."

When she was growing up, her lawn was the only one on her block that did not have pesticides used on it, Garlington said. But that does not mean it stood as a wild nature preserve, the way some commercials might have you believe a lawn untamed by chemicals would.

"It was nothing like that," Garlington said. "We just had a different approach to caring for it."

This wasn't just any Southern home. Garlington's father is media mogul Ted Turner, founder of CNN and Turner Broadcasting and outspoken environmental advocate.

And in recent years, Garlington has married the media and environmentalist aspects of her upbringing to create a new series that is shown on KET, EcoSense for Living. The fourth installment of the series, EcoSense for Living: Green Buildings, premieres Tuesday on the public broadcasting network.

Garlington started working on the idea of an environmental series after moving to her Bourbon County farm early in the past decade. A former CNN producer, she wanted to continue working in media and also advance an environmental message. So she and her brother Rhett Turner, a documentary filmmaker, worked on a few public service spots that eventually evolved into the first EcoSense episodes.

"We want to make being environmental more in reach and not intimidating, not something that's costly," Garlington said. "We just want to make it very user friendly and show people some things that are a little further from reach."

The Green Buildings episode, for instance, will look at things people can do in their houses to make them more environmentally friendly. But it also takes viewers to the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., where groups including a University of Kentucky team showed off a wide variety of green building ideas, from farmhouse structures outfitted with solar panels to projects that looked like buildings out of The Jetsons.

The next installment, Garlington says, will look at diet and eating chemical-free food. Previous episodes have focused on green jobs and raising environmentally conscious children.

"The trickle-down effect is enormous when you teach children about the environment and get them outside," Garlington said.

And she is an example herself, from those Saturday mornings weeding to exploring the many acres of land her father owns.

"He is very supportive," she said of Turner's thoughts on the series. "He appreciates his children carrying on his legacy."

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