Greg Carr subject of National Geographic story on revitalizing African national park

Isaura Nyusi, the first lady of Mozambique, is pictured in this August 2017 photo with Greg Carr and Matthew Mutemba, director general of the National Administration of Conservation Areas, next to a plaque in honor of Edward O. Wilson, patron of the biodiversity lab at Gorongosa National Park.

Idaho Falls native Greg Carr will soon appear in PBS’s new documentary series “The Age of Nature.” Carr, who has spent years restoring Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, features prominently in the first episode.

In the documentary, Carr shows off the different ways in which the animal kingdom is thriving in Gorongosa. In one scene, he looks out from the cockpit of a small plane trying to catch glimpses of animals from the sky. In another, he flips over a rock to reveal a nest of termites and explains their importance in the ecosystem.

“I remember they wired me up with a mic and they wanted me to kind of wander around. They said, ‘Wander around and talk, Greg.’ So, I did. And you know you never know what they’re going to use. They film you for hours and you end up being in five minutes. So I have no idea what they’re going to use or if I’m going to look goofy. I hope they make me seem sort of reasonable. But it’s a lot of fun,” Carr said.

The series is intended to explore the ways in which damaged ecosystems can be rehabilitated to benefit both nature and humans. It’s a message near and dear to Carr’s heart.

“Here’s the message that’s always on my mind: we really need to see one picture. People and nature in one unified home benefiting each other. It’s a false dichotomy to say ‘Well you know, Greg, you’re going to have to choose. You either have got to cut down all these trees and build condominiums or you’re going to have to let the elephants live here. What do you like better, Greg? Elephants or people?’ I think that’s a silly dichotomy. Humans need a healthy, natural world for our own well-being,” Carr said.

Gorongosa National Park works double as a public land preserve and a livelihood for local people. The park has thrived in recent years after decades of abandonment by the Mozambican government due to the civil war that took place there between 1981 and 1994.

Carr got involved in the park in 2004 when the government of Mozambique invited him onto the project. He has since committed to a 30-year restoration of Gorongosa that involves developing the communities in and around the park and rehabilitating the wildlife in it.

Carr built his wealth in the technology field. After receiving his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University in 1986 he started Boston Technology with a partner, which in four years became the nation’s No. 1 voicemail provider for telephone companies. He sold the company at the end of the 1990s.

Carr has been involved in multiple Idaho projects as well, including being a driving force behind the Museum of Idaho.

He is hoping that his projects educates people on the importance of our natural environments.

“I think as we move forward for the rest of this century it’s going to be more and more obvious to everybody that nature blesses us, so let’s protect nature. I don’t think that’s a really complicated concept,” Carr said.

The Age of Nature will premiere at 8 p.m. Oct. 14 on PBS. The trailer can be viewed at pbs.org/video/preview-iqzbbc/