The Scripture of Nature
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks

PBS
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The Last Refuge
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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…
Great Nature
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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…
The Empire of Grandeur
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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…
The Morning of Creation
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
Following World War II, the parks are overwhelmed as visitation reaches 62 million people a year. A new billion-dollar campaign - Mission 66 - is created to build facilities and infrastructure that can accommodate the flood of visitors. A biologist named Adolph Murie introduces the revolutionary notion that predatory animals,…
Going Home
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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,…
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America’s Best Idea
PBS
This 12-hour, six-part documentary series by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan tells 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. From…
Africa 2: Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls
The Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone was the first white person to discover Victoria Falls and named them in honor of Queen Victoria. Also known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means "the Smoke that Thunders," the falls have been named "One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World," and this…
Wonders of the National Parks - A Geology of North America
In 1872, a wondrous region called Yellowstone was set aside as the world's first national park, giving adventurous travelers access to a geologist's paradise that seethes with pent-up volcanic forces. As more and more national parks were created--not just in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico--geologists were…
South Africa 6: Kagga Kamma - Land of the Bushmen
"Recommended. Originally, the Bushmen/San lived in the Kagga Kamma area of western South Africa, but European settlement drove them into the Kalahari Desert; today, we see some Bushmen/San have resettled in their original homeland. Here Bushmen/San and reserve rangers explain how the Bushmen/San culture lives off the land; we see…
South Africa 1: Cape Town
This is a memorable tour of Cape Town, South Africa, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is situated on the southwestern tip of Africa and includes historic buildings of the Old Cape Dutch and English architecture. Here we explore its most important attractions. The most famous…
Yosemite: Nature’s Cathedral
Survey the most beautiful valley on Earth: Yosemite. Even for those who have not yet visited, its views are iconic thanks to stunning photos by Ansel Adams and others. Investigate the geological history of the park, focusing on its most distinctive rock type--granite.
Erta Ale—Compact Fury of Lava Lakes
Zoom in on a remarkable feature of the African Rift Valley: the lava lake at Erta Ale in Ethiopia. This seething cauldron of molten rock is the oldest of the world's five active lava lakes, and it replicates on a small scale the complex process of plate tectonics.