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Program Rights Date Range
NOLA Code:
TALS 001200 H1
Number of Episodes/Length:
6 / 30
Rights End:
Environment News Trust
Year Produced:
Compelling stories on critical issues facing our environment

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#1201 The Wilderness Act at 60, Bringing Back the Birds, Forever Green

THE WILDERNESS ACT AT 60 “This American Land” kicks off Season 12 with a celebration of one of the world’s most important conservation measures. Since its passage in 1964, the Wilderness Act assures the strongest protections for clean air, clean water, wildlife, and the scientific understanding of our natural world. Our host, wildlife biologist Ed Arnett, takes us to Colorado, to see how important this protection is to tourists, merchants, scientists, and of course the plants and animals it protects.

BRINGING BACK THE BIRDS Habitat destruction has contributed to the loss of 3 billion birds in the last 50 years. Climate change is adding to their survival threats. You may be surprised to see the dramatic action scientists are taking along one of the most important bird migration routes in America. Correspondent Brad Hicks shows us how the Bureau of Reclamation has devised a multi-species conservation program to create forests and wetlands along the lower Colorado River.

FOREVER GREEN Successful farming in the 21st century is about much more than how much corn you can grow on an acre. Researchers in Minnesota are developing food crops that could revolutionize agriculture. With global uncertainties about food security, farmers are anxious to find ways to grow crops year-round. The “Forever Green" program has been around more than a quarter century, experimenting with perennials that have massive roots. Extended growing seasons have other sustainable benefits, like innovative types of renewable energy.

#1202 Grizzlies, Worry in the Wetlands, Pecos Wilderness

GRIZZLIES Grizzly bears are an endangered species success story. These iconic creatures were hunted nearly to extinction. Back in the 1980s there were fewer than 200 in the West’s Yellowstone territory. But in 2024 there are now more than one thousand! Acclaimed outdoor journalist Kris Millgate explains the fragile balance between this powerful mammal and the humans sharing its space--and how it’s going to take constant efforts to share the wilderness with them.

WORRY IN THE WETLANDS A recent Supreme Court decision, the Sackett case, is having a dramatic impact on wetlands conservation in the Mississippi River Valley. We’ll show you how local communities are adjusting their efforts to address these new rules. The changes could have an impact on groundwater, flood protection, and plant and animal habitat. And it could especially impact the Prairie Pothole Region, part of one of the most important waterfowl habitats in the world.

PECOS WILDERNESS is an area in North Central New Mexico, created under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The region serves as a major watershed for New Mexico and southern Texas. 30 million people visit each year, generating $8 billion in annual business. But the area is also rich in many minerals. Toxic waste from long-closed mining operations still threaten the Pecos River and have left scars on the land. Residents and lawmakers have been working for more than five years to stop any new mining operations.

#1203 Robert Bullard – Environmental Justice, Kidwind, Lighthawk, Café Romain

ROBERT BULLARD - ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE On many of our shows you’ll see public lands and wide open spaces, and meet the dedicated people working to protect fresh air, clean water and abundant green spaces. America’s big cities also have priceless lands, but many residents do not have equal access to safe and welcoming places for their families.
We take you to Houston, to meet Robert Bullard, the “Father of Environmental Justice.”
He’s also been training a hard-working new generation to help underserved communities take action against pollution, toxic dumping, and neglect that are so often foisted on Black, Brown, and poorer communities.

KIDWIND Conservation success depends on the constant passion and excitement of new generations working to protect and improve our natural resources. Young people have grown up learning how important recycling, sustainability, and renewable fuels are to their future. KIDWIND is a national challenge that brings alternative energy education into classrooms. Students from fourth to 12th grade work with schools and local mentors to create wind and solar projects… paving the way to their leadership in engineering and technology.

LIGHTHAWK Hundreds of volunteer pilots are helping scientists get a bold new view of their conservation efforts. For years, “Lighthawk” has provided a bird’s eye view of deserts and wetlands. And they have helped with species counts and mapping details. We joined flights over both the Colorado and the Mississippi Rivers. Scientists are wowed by the new perspective on their research.

CAPE ROMAIN is growing! Development and sea level rise are posing threats to this priceless salt marsh habitat in South Carolina. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is adding nearly 450 acres to this critical bird nesting refuge. It’s a critical nursery for fish, birds, and threatened turtle species. And it makes a marvelous outdoor classroom for local kids and adults.

#1204 Gray Wolves, The Riverlorian, Dave Showalter - Conservation Photographer, Blue Ridge Parkway.

GRAY WOLVES Wherever wolves share the landscape with livestock, there are going to be conflicts. We’ll show you how a wide range of creative and collaborative people are working together to protect them both. “This American Land” host, wildlife biologist Ed Arnett shows us how an experiment with gray wolves is working. In December, 2023, 10 gray wolves were captured in northeast Oregon and relocated in Colorado, west of the Continental Divide. It’s a story of some of the challenges in wildlife conservation, human coexistence with large carnivores, and the impact on the livelihoods of ranchers in the region.

THE RIVERLORIAN Steven Marking is a “Riverlorian” … a river historian, photographer, and filmmaker. He’s an outspoken advocate for the Mississippi River. He travels the river, telling stories, and making music. His show, “A Visit from Will Dilg & Scenes from Our Mighty Mississippi” is a stage production that he created, wrote, and performs, to celebrate the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. His work with the Izaak Walton League has helped protect hundreds of miles of the river.

DAVE SHOWALTER - CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHER And another river expert a bit to the West ….Dave Showalter is a photographer with a special eye on how important rivers are to all living things. He explores the development of a new contract for the Colorado River, one that combines new technology, and restores many of our western rivers for wildlife and recreation. He also tackles the difficult challenge of recalibrating water consumption. Showalter’s stunning photographs are part of his book, “Living River: Creating a Resilient Watershed.”

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs more than 400 miles in North Carolina and Virginia.
Local governments, NGOs and public-private partnerships are helping link the rural communities it traverses, making sure their waters stay clean and their inspiring views are unimpeded. Threats to the region include housing development, and erosion from building sites. Outdoor lovers are working with the U.S. Forest Service and private landowners to protect these lands for wildlife and outdoor recreation.

#1205 Smith Island, The Benefits of Beavers, Mississippi Wetlands

SMITH ISLAND “This American Land” spent time with residents of Maryland’s Smith Island back in our first season. It was before the climate crisis was everyday news, yet the people here were already dealing with sea-level rise and the genuine possibility that the next generation may have to abandon the oyster fishing and tourist draw for this beautiful four-square mile archipelago. We’ll explore what’s changed since then, and the long-term plans of some families who have lived here for generations.

THE BENEFITS OF BEAVERS Humans have long marveled at the engineering skills of beavers. Now scientists are learning more about how beaver dams help restore rivers during droughts and after wildfires. Artificial intelligence techniques are being used to both locate dams, and to build dams that replicate nature’s keenest construction workers.

MISSISSIPPI WETLANDS There’s a lot of work underway to protect and restore the largest wetland ecosystem in the United States. The Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley stretches across seven states. Now there are millions of dollars available to restore its forest and stream habitats.
The efforts are reducing flooding, sequestering carbon, and creating more hunting and fishing habitat with help from private landowners. Hundreds of bird species and the iconic Louisiana black bear also benefit from these conservation practices.

#1206 Right Whales, Bird Collisions, Arizona Groundwater, Renegade Rancher

RIGHT WHALES The North Atlantic Right Whale is among the most endangered species on earth. About 350 animals are left. But they’re being killed by two human threats: Strikes from speeding ships, and entanglement in tons of discarded fishing gear. While the outlook is dire, there is dedication and creativity among scientists, anglers, the U.S. military, and volunteers to save the remaining right whales in the waters off New England, south to the coasts of Georgia and Florida.

BIRD COLLISIONS Birds see the world differently from humans. And that can lead to deadly encounters when birds fly into glass buildings. It kills more than a billion birds a year. Now more cities are adopting bird-friendly building ordinances to help reduce bird-glass collisions. And schools of architecture are designing spaces that are both safe and attractive for our feathered friends. It’s also easy for apartment and home dwellers to make their windows safer.

ARIZONA GROUNDWATER What’s causing lands to sink and wells to dry up in southern Arizona? Aquifers are being drained to water thirsty industrial farms. State and local laws are not providing much guidance, and the problem has turned into a groundwater free-for-all. Correspondent Brad Hicks shows us the impact of this groundwater free-for-all.

RENEGADE RANCHER Water challenges along the Colorado River are inspiring ranchers to try new ways to save this precious commodity. Some are experimenting with Silphium, a good livestock feed with deep roots that’s rich in protein. We’ll take you to Colorado, where collaboration is helping farms, cities, and industries share water with creativity, not conflict.

CAMP HALE The harsh terrain of Colorado’s mountains helped young Army recruits in World War II prepare for fighting Nazis in the Alps. Now, after years of effort, Colorado’s Camp Hale/Continental Divide has been named a National Monument by the federal government. Many of those hardy soldiers came back after the war to help create the multi-billion dollar outdoor sports and ski resorts in Colorado and throughout the west. Camp Hale is a spot for recreation, and respite for military veterans and their families.

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9/5/2024 - 9/4/2027
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Marsha Walton
United States