NJ outdoorsman who lost job amid pandemic finds success making video series
A New Jersey outdoorsman and archaeologist lost his dream job during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he wound up finding success in the great outdoors anyway.
On a perfect spring day on the banks of the south branch of the Raritan River, Hunterdon County native Thor Giese was shooting an episode of his new outdoor video series, “Thor's Outdoor Science Academy." Giese was cooking venison to recreate the last meal found in the stomach of the famous 5,000-year-old Otzi iceman discovered in the Alps.
“I used black bear lard from a black bear my dad hunted a couple of years ago,” Giese says.
Giese wasn’t planning on making a TV show. A year ago he had just been hired for a dream job as an outdoor educator for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. For a Jersey-raised outdoorsman with years of experience as an archaeologist and tour guide at Colorado's Dinosaur Ridge, it was a dream job and New Jersey homecoming all in one.
“I was going to be teaching people to fish all day. And fishing myself. So yeah, it was going to be pretty awesome. Then the pandemic hit. That job disappeared,” he says.
So Giese launched the video series. His two-minute segments are mostly filmed in New Jersey. It was picked up by the show “Into the Outdoors” which airs on PBS in 27 states. The show combines paleontology, archaeology, outdoor adventure and cooking.
In one episode, Giese used a Cuban sandwich to illustrate sedimentary rock layers.
“I talk about rock cycle and so I built a Cubano from scratch and the way you build a Cubano sandwich from scratch. And the way you finish off a Cubano from scratch, you put it in a press to press it down into distinct layers. That is exactly how sediment forms into sedimentary rock,” he says.