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

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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 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…
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,…
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America’s Best Idea
PBS
The National Parks: America's Best Idea 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. As such, it follows in the…
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…
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,…
Growing a Sustainable Future - The Miracle of Agriculture
The Miracle of Agriculture is a multicultural tour of food and fiber production around the world, from the remote Cape Verde Islands to the rugged Australian outback, from the barren Sahara desert to the rich rice paddies of Thailand, from the scrub lands of Western Africa to the incredibly productive…
Redwoods, Sequoias, and the Sierra Nevada
Dig deeper into the geology of Yosemite, charting the role of glaciers in shaping the terrain. Also, learn the origin of California's famous gold deposits. Then study the special conditions that promote the growth of giant sequoias, and visit the national parks that preserve these towering trees for posterity.
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.
African Rift Valley—Cracks into the Earth
Visit the African Rift Valley, a mid-ocean ridge in the making. From the Red Sea to Mount Kilimanjaro, tectonic forces are splitting Africa apart, forming a new ocean in the process. This impressive valley is also the site of many fossil discoveries relating to early humans.
A Montage of Geologic Mini-Wonders
In an entertaining change of pace, watch a countdown of 10 geological wonders that are hard to classify, from number 10--the White Cliffs of Dover--to number 1--a geological mystery in Death Valley that would seem like a hoax if it weren't true.