Bahamas Outdoor Notables: Gary “The Explorer” Richardson

Gary the Explorer photo
Gary Richardson, AKA “Gary the Explorer,” is passionate about teaching the young people of the Bahamas about the importance of protecting the ocean, coastal and upland environments. PHOTO CREDIT: Loggerhead Productions.

…Environmental Educator, Outdoor Enthusiast and Entertainer

From time to time, Coastal Angler Magazine – The Bahamas features profiles of individuals who have made, or are making, significant contributions to Bahamas fishing, boating, conservation or outdoor centric activities. This month, we have the pleasure of introducing our readers to a young man who is passionate about educating Bahamians and visitors alike to the wonders and diversity of the Bahamas environment. Meet Gary Richardson Jr. A.K.A Gary the Explorer.

CAM: Gary, thanks for taking a few moments to allow Coastal Angler Magazine – The Bahamas to inform our readers about what you are doing to help share your passion for the environment. Let me ask you first, at what age, and why, do you think you developed your passion for the outdoor environment?

As long as I can remember, I have always loved what we call “rambling” through the bush in Spring City, Abaco. My grandparents used to call it the “carpet” but now I know that it is actually called coppice. Sometimes we would ride our bikes all the way to Snake Cay to go swimming. We never took any water or food, so when we got thirsty we would crack a coconut to drink the water. My grandmother Alvira was a dog groomer in Nassau, one of the best, and that’s where I get my love of animals. My other grandmother, my mommy’s mommy, used to teach me about trees. My grandfather, John Lowe, was a bush medicine expert. Everybody used to come to him when they were sick. I learned some from him, not all, but I always liked it. My mother said that when I was a little boy I would not even let her kill cockroaches. I’ve always loved animals and plants.

CAM: When and how did you get involved with the Bahamas Learning Channel and Conch Salad TV?

We started Gary the Explorer in January of 2007. It went on the air for the first time in the fall of 2007 on Cable 12 and ZNS. Matt McCoy, who runs Loggerhead Productions, came up to the bar at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge where I worked and asked if I wanted to be in a TV show about the environment. I told Matt I liked animals and plants, but that I’m not an actor…why me? But, I thought it was a cool idea. The first time we filmed together I thought I was just trying out, but it turned out that we were actually filming the first episode! I thought I knew a lot about animals and plants, but it turned out I just knew a lot about where I lived. There is so much more. Now I talk to people about different eco-systems. No one ever thinks about the coastal ecosystem, they don’t realize it’s an ecosystem. They know the marine and the land, but the coast is so important and people don’t really know about it. Without the coast we’d have no beaches, no mangroves, no rocky shores. We need those areas to protect our islands and to give baby animals a place to grow up.

Matt and I were talking one day about names for the show, and came up with Gary the Explorer. We tried a few different shirts and asked Chaka from the Braid Lady’s Shop in Hope Town to make a hat for me. After she made the hat, we had to go back and get her to fray it a bit so it looked more worn.

CAM: Why did you and Matt think that TV would be a good medium for getting this information across?

Instead of reading a book for two days, you can watch the show in a half hour. It’s a good way to learn. We teach about all of the different ecosystems of the Islands of the Bahamas, ways to help the environment and all of the different plants and animals. We talk about picking up trash and taking care of the environment. It’s important stuff, we try to make it entertaining, like a live theatre show, but still have the important messages. It’s live, it’s fun and we include some silly stuff like me almost falling out of a boat. So they are laughing while they are learning.

CAM: Why do you think that it is important to reach out to children?

If children like a show then the parents have to like it. Lots of us don’t like Sponge Bob but we still watch it because our children want to see it. When they learn messages we are sharing they can teach their parents.

CAM: How many episodes have you completed?

We have completed 5 seasons, with 6 episodes in each season. Each episode is 15 minutes in length.

CAM: Gary, it has been a real pleasure and we are honored to be sharing your story with our readers. Is there anything else you would like to add?

If you want to see Gary the Explorer, you can purchase DVD’s through Loggerhead Production’s website You can also see more of me in some of the Conch Salad TV features which has videos about the Bahamas. Check out the Bush medicine episode!!!! Also, I really wish to thank Matt and Lindsey. We have so much fun filming the show I wish that we could be doing it all the time.

CAM: Thanks Gary…see you at the pool bar at the “Lodge”.

About Gary the Explorer: Gary the Explorer was developed by Loggerhead Productions, which is based in Abaco, Bahamas for the Ministry of Education’s new Bahamas Learning Channel. The Bahamas Learning Channel is afternoon programming aimed at enriching the educational experience for Bahamian students. Gary the Explorer was created to be an opportunity for Bahamians to see their environment on their television screen, something that does not happen very often. According to Director Matt McCoy, “Gary was a natural choice for host. He has a love for the Bahamas, its creatures and its beauty that is contagious. I think kids really connect to him because he genuinely cares about the environment….and he has a great sense of humor”.

About Gary Richardson: Gary was born in Nassau and grew up in Spring City, Abaco. He graduated from Abaco Central high School in 1991 and moved to Hope Town in November 1997. When not filming episodes of Gary the Explorer, Gary can be found entertaining guests and mixing cocktails at Hope Town Harbour Lodge on Elbow Cay, Abaco.