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NATURE
Yosemite

 

Yosemite Valley is a land forged in wildfire and sculpted by water, and the delicate balance of these two elements is essential to the creatures and trees that call this land their home. But with climates changing and temperatures rising, the Sierras are under siege. Water is scarcer and the threat of fire is more common. Join scientists and adventurers as they trudge through mountains of snow, climb trees as tall as buildings and soar high in the air to spy just how these global changes are affecting one of America’s greatest wildernesses.

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
The Roots of ‘Ulu

 

Follow the mythological origins of ‘ulu, its journey from Tahiti to Hawai‘i on Polynesian voyaging canoes, and modern efforts to revitalize breadfruit as a possible solution to food shortages. Native practitioners, medical specialists and agricultural experts have a shared vision of the ‘ulu tree playing an important role in cultural preservation, health restoration and food sustainability for Hawai‘i’s future.

 

NATURE
A Sloth Named Velcro

 

Filmed in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, this is a story of friendship between a journalist and the sloth she named Velcro and a network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them. Once largely ignored, sloths have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. New studies show that they’re not so “sloth-like” after all: despite their reputation, sloths in fact sleep only about as much as humans do and are much more active in the wild than they are in captivity. Other studies have shown sloths are not as solitary as we thought, that they have social structures and that males even keep small harems of females. New research into the gait of sloths has revealed another surprise. X-ray images and photographic analysis show that sloths actually move just like primates, only upside-down.

 

A CRAFTSMAN’S LEGACY
The Basket Weaver

 

Host Eric Gorges visits with Ron Paquin, a Native American who teaches others the fine craft of bark basket weaving.  Eric and Ron both build baskets together.

 

STANDING ON SACRED GROUND
Fire & Ice

 

In the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia, scientists confirm the benefits of traditional stewardship even as elders witness the decline of spiritual practices that have long protected trees, meadows and mountains. Tensions with evangelical Christians over a sacred meadow erupt into a riot. In the Peruvian Andes, the Q’eros, on a pilgrimage to a revered glacier, are driven from their ritual site by intolerant Catholics.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

 

In 1851, word spreads across the country of a beautiful area of California’s Yosemite Valley, attracting visitors who wish to exploit the land’s scenery for commercial gain and those who wish to keep it pristine. Among the latter is a Scottish-born wanderer named John Muir, for whom protecting the land becomes a spiritual calling. In 1864, Congress passes an act that protects Yosemite from commercial development and preserves it for “public use, resort and recreation” – the first time in world history that any government has put forth this idea – and hands control of the land to California. Meanwhile, a “wonderland” in the northwest corner of the Wyoming territory attracts visitors to its bizarre landscape of geysers, mud pots and sulfur pits. In 1872, Congress passes an act to protect this land as well. Since it is located in a territory, rather than a state, it becomes America’s first national park: Yellowstone.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

 

This six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

 

By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country – once a vast wilderness – will have any pristine land left. At the same time, poachers in the parks are rampant, and visitors think nothing of littering or carving their names near iconic sites like Old Faithful. Congress has yet to establish clear judicial authority or appropriations for the protection of the parks. This sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt. The movement fails, however, to stop San Francisco from building the Hetch Hetchy dam at Yosemite, flooding Muir’s “mountain temple” and leaving him broken-hearted before he dies.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)

 

This six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

 

In the early 20th century, America has a dozen national parks, but they are a haphazard patchwork of special places under the supervision of different federal agencies. The conservation movement, after failing to stop the Hetch Hetchy dam, pushes the government to establish one unified agency to oversee all the parks, leading to the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. Its first director, Stephen Mather, a wealthy businessman and passionate park advocate who fought vigorously to establish the NPS, launches an energetic campaign to expand the national park system and bring more visitors to the parks. Among his efforts is protection of the Grand Canyon from encroaching commercial interests and its establishment as a national park, rather than a national monument.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
Going Home (1920-1933)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, Going Home (1920-1933)

 

This six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

 

While visiting the parks was once predominantly the domain of Americans wealthy enough to afford the high-priced train tours, the advent of the automobile allows more people than ever before to visit the parks. Mather embraces this opportunity and works to build more roads in the parks. Some park enthusiasts, such as Margaret and Edward Gehrke of Nebraska, begin “collecting” parks, making a point to visit as many as they can. In North Carolina, Horace Kephart, a reclusive writer, and George Masa, a Japanese immigrant, launch a campaign to protect the last strands of virgin forest in the Smoky Mountains by establishing it as a park. In Wyoming, John D. Rockefeller Jr. begins quietly buying up land in the Teton Mountain Range and valley in a secret plan to donate it to the government as a park.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
Great Nature (1933-1945)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, Great Nature (1933-1945)

 

This six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

 

To battle unemployment in the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt creates the Civilian Conservation Corps, which spawns a “golden age” for the parks through major renovation projects. In a groundbreaking study, a young NPS biologist named George Melendez Wright discovers widespread abuses of animal habitats and pushes the service to reform its wildlife policies. Congress narrowly passes a bill to protect the Everglades in Florida as a national park – the first time a park has been created solely to preserve an ecosystem, as opposed to scenic beauty. As America becomes entrenched in World War II, Roosevelt is pressured to open the parks to mining, grazing and lumbering. The president also is subjected to a storm of criticism for expanding the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming by accepting a gift of land secretly purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

 

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