bernstein.jpgIn its profile of Josh Bernstein, the New York Times description of the televised adventurer's visit to the Explorers Club in Manhattan lacks only female members swooning onto fainting couches as he relates tales of danger to his audience. Indeed, the paper reports that Bernstein's visit to the club occasioned the largest attendance by women in the organization's history. And while he is best known for trekking to far-flung locales, the former host of he History Channel's Digging For the Truth (he was lured to the Discovery Channel for a new show) is actually a native of Manhattan's Upper East Side, who grew up with a serious nerdy streak.

“I had a tracking box in my bedroom,” he said. Huh? “That’s a box of sand that I walked in, pretending I was an animal. That determined how my tracks would look if I turned or walked backward.” It helped him, he said, to understand the nuances of animal movement.

For all his rugged handsomeness, Mr. Bernstein is that kind of geek. As a teenager at Horace Mann School, he was a faithful reader of two major newspapers, as well as three or four environmental magazines. He clipped articles on the environment and politics and put them in plastic sleeves before cataloging them by subject in binders.

Bernstein's yet-to-be-named show on the Discovery Channel will begin in January and feature a strong focus on environmental issues as well as archaeology, reflecting its host's personal interests.