Episodes

Walden Pond  Henry David Thoreau has been called the father of environmentalism as well as the creator of the nature essay. This program examines the merging of these two qualities of Thoreau during the years of 1845 through 1847 when he lived in a cabin at Walden Pond. The program reflects upon how this almost mythical place of retreat has become a symbol of personal introspection and individualism. Additionally, the program explains how a group of concerned citizens, called The Walden Woods Project, saved this birthplace of 19th century New England literature from encroaching development. 2 min

Everglades  The Everglades, a vast sheet of flowing wetland, once covered most of south central Florida. But, when Florida became a state in 1845, the practice and promotion of draining the area for farmland and development began almost immediately-with devastating effects on the ecosystem. This program provides a chronology of the devastation and subsequent reclamation of this unique subtropical environment. 2 min

Urban Planning  Living in a city does not mean to living devoid of nature. Through the foresight of urban planning, greenways such as parks, preserved lakefronts, and boulevards have kept nature at the doorstep of millions of American city dwellers. This episode traces the history of man’s “organizing of nature” by explaining the evolution of  Chicago’s lakefront. 2 min

American Bison  This episode features the history of the American Bison–from 1860 to the present–and tells the dramatic history of the exploitation of this great animal by hide hunters, railroad companies, and the U.S. Army. 2 min

 

Scenic Byways  This episode explores America’s love affair with automobile travel, beginning with mass production of the Ford Model-T, the creation of the interstate highway system and passage of the Highway Beautification Act. 2 min

 

Rails to Trails  The invention of the steam engine opened up regions of this country that were once inaccessible and safeguarded from human interaction. A network of railways eventually cut across the United States providing faster transportation of goods and people. As the automobile and truck took to the center of the transportation stage, a greater number of railroad beds became abandoned. Today, those beds are being converted to biking and hiking paths. This program will take the viewer bicycling down the Kal-Haven trail in South Haven, Michigan to learn the history of the American Railroad and to become aware of the growing rail-to-trail movement. 2 min

Steel Mills On the southeast boundary of Chicago, just 12 miles from the epicenter of the nation’s third largest city, lies a forgotten patchwork of marshes. Sometimes referred to as the “Rust Belt,” this is a landscape of stark contrasts– a man-made environment versus a natural one. While the area has been exploited for the past few hundred years–from French fur trappers to American industrialist–amazingly, the area still supports a diverse wildlife population including over 200 species of birds such as Snowy Egrets, the endangered Black-crowned Night Heron, and the Sandhill Crane. 6 min

Bats  Shot in Austin, Texas, this piece attempts to shed light on some of the more popular myths about bats. Get a close-up look at a wild Brazilian Free-Tailed bat as Tom Trinley and his guide from Bat Conservation International catch and release one of 30 million bats as they emerge from Bracken Cave, home to the world’s largest colony. 7 min

Ranching Western cattle ranching has quite a colorful past, and at times a controversial present. Homesteaders, Native Americans, cowboys and cattle drives, public lands and overgrazing are just a few of the images that come to mind with respect to ranching. This episode traces the history of ranching and its effect on the land by touring a Colorado ranch. 7 min

Big Trees  Some 100 years ago the battle over old growth ancient forests was begun when John Muir and Gifford Pinchot created two schools of thought – preservationist vs. conservationist. Shot in the redwood groves of Muir Woods, just 15 miles north of San Francisco, this piece explains the origins of this heated debate, which remains unsettled to this day. 6 min

Collections  Filmed at The Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of the Sciences, this episode explores how behind-the-scenes scientists use museum specimens to solve environmental problems, such as DDT spraying and the thinning of Bald Eagle egg shells, and to prevent the future extinction of species as exemplified through the tragic story of the Passenger Pigeon. 9 min

National Parks  Filmed on location at Saguaro National Park – Tucson, Arizona, this episode  explains how a national park is created, and tells of today’s challenges associated with the parks such as overcrowding, species reintroduction, and encroaching development. 8 min