On NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” he’s a buttoned-up health nut who works for city government. In real life, he’s a laidback dad who loves surfing and the outdoors. No matter how you know Rob Lowe, it’s easy to admire him. We recently hopped on the phone with the Golden Globe-nominated actor and found out he’s about to get a whole new fan base: kids.
It’s all because of his latest project voicing a new online documentary series about animal preservation. The series, found at www.dawnsaveswildlife.com, is called “The Big Picture” and offers an inside look into how rescuers and volunteers help animals and wildlife. Over seven webisodes — all produced by Dawn Saves Wildlife, the conservation arm of the Dawn soap brand — Rob narrates the difficult journey of nature’s creatures and sheds light on the efforts of Dawn’s preservation partners, Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center and International Bird Rescue.
Rob is filled with enthusiasm for the series and the message it sends to kids. “I love that it spotlights volunteers. Each episode is more compelling than the next and makes you feel good,” he says.
The series kicks off with footage of ducks dirtied with boating oil. You’re swept into their plight as you learn of the volunteers from International Bird Rescue who get to work cleaning the birds. And they do it in the most simple of ways: with more than 50,000 bottles of Dawn dishwashing liquid donated by the brand.
“You would think it would be some big government compound that cleans these birds, but it made me smile to realize it was just dishwashing liquid,” says Rob.
The series continues with more difficult yet ultimately uplifting stories. In Episode 2, harbor seal pups abandoned by their families get taken in to the Marine Mammal Center and are fed “fish milkshakes” by caring volunteers, and released back into the wild once they are self sufficient. And in Episode 4, pelicans that have soared into dumpsters for food, contaminating their feathers, are taken in by International Bird Rescue and washed back to health. Through it all you get a keen view to the front lines, where volunteers give their heartfelt stories and tips on spurring change in your own community.
New webisodes are being rolled out through September. After watching the footage, kids have the opportunity to be part of the bigger picture by sending thank-you notes to the rescue volunteers.
Rob, for his part, continues to help animals in his own way. “My wife and two sons are involved in dog rescue,” he says. “About once every year-and-a-half or two years we rescue up to 30 dogs at a time. It’s a big part of my family life. Some we place in homes. Others we foster. In fact, just three weeks ago, we took in a dog that’s part Italian greyhound and part chihuahua.”
Rob explains that his kids — one a senior in high school and the other a freshman in college — were raised around animals and have grown up to be passionate outdoorsmen. “They are water men … scuba divers, surfers, fisherman. The ocean is a big deal to us,” he enthuses.
And what to do boys think of Dad’s project with Dawn Saves Wildlife? “They love it,” says Rob. “It’s always a tremendous victory to have teenage sons take interest in anything Dad is doing.”
Watch “The Big Picture” documentary series online at www.dawnsaveswildlife.com.
What does your family do to protect wildlife? Let us know in the Comments section below.
— Kelly Aiglon
Photos: Dawn Saves Wildlife