Showcasing Volunteer Opportunities

- Thursday, June 13, 2013

At This American Land, we are committed to showcasing efforts to protect our natural resources--our landscapes, waters and wildlife. One of the ways non-profit organizations around the United States are working to protect these resources is through volunteer efforts.

On the television series, we have featured groups like the Friends of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness (also known as Fobbits), Tennessee Wild, and the Montana Wilderness Association. These groups, and many others, offer opportunities for volunteers to assist in their efforts to protect vulnerable natural resources.

If you represent a nature or wildlife conservation non-profit, and your organization offers volunteer opportunities, we would be happy to help promote those opportunities through our blog and other social media outlets. Please contact us via our website, or leave a comment on this blog with details.

A Frontier Phenomenon

- Monday, March 04, 2013

Series Producer Marsha Walton shares some information on the Lake County (Oregon) Resources Initiative, featured in episode 213 of This American Land.

When you’ve got a hit on your hands, the rest of the world takes notice!

The state of Oregon has recognized the accomplishments of LCRI, The Lake County Resources Initiative, and wants to take their message of creativity and sustainability to a bigger audience. 

We featured the “Natural Resources Revival’ in this southern Oregon region in episode 213.

 Lake County isn’t just rural—it is classified as “frontier” by the Census Department! And that frontier spirit is what has helped this area transform from being dependent on timber, to taking advantage of its other natural resources, from geothermal to solar to biomass. 

With help from the state, LCRI is building a mobile unit to show other communities more about renewable energy, how to get tax breaks for green energy projects, and how, with a view for the long term, these investments can actually make money. 

There will also be a stationary exhibit at the Lake County Chamber of Commerce in Lakeview, featuring solar exhibits, and a video of our story! Several roadside renewable energy kiosks will be placed around the county on major highways.

The Lake County Hospital is already saving $100,000 a year thanks to its geothermal conversion. And the geothermal retrofit for county schools should be complete in 2014. 

Pacific Power's two megawatt Black Cap solar facility that was just being constructed when we visited, went online in November. It’s the largest commercial scale solar project in Oregon. 

Jim Walls is the energetic executive director of LCRI. His goal is to help small communities make renewable energy an economic development tool.

LCRI has gotten help with its work from “Sustainable Northwest.” Check out this fascinating look at some individual and community actions in response to climate change in rural America.

High Flying, and a High Five to the "Lab of O"

- Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Series producer Marsha Walton takes a look at the many wonderful stories featured on the first two seasons of This American Land on birds, and exciting news from our friends at Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology. 

We cover all types of outdoor activities on our show. Any guesses on the most popular? Hiking? Fishing? Mountain biking? 

For the answer—look up! Birding is the number one sport in America. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says there are more than 50 million birdwatchers out there.

So it’s no surprise some of your favorite stories have featured exotic, endangered, and engaging birds. In season one, Sharon Collins of Georgia Public Broadcasting showed us “Herons and Heroes,” a look at how wading birds have recovered from over-hunting. 

In season two, our colleagues at Oregon Field Guide captured amazing pictures of Arctic white geese by the tens of thousands, and healthy new populations of bald eagles in the northwest. 

We also showed you the almost unbelievable “Miracle Eagle,” a female bald eagle that crashed into a truck driver’s windshield in Idaho and fought back to a healthy recovery.  From a haven for hawks in Idaho, to the birds of Dyke Marsh near Washington, D.C., to a most unusual peregrine falcon home in Iowa, birds and their habitats constantly mesmerize us. 

But birds and other wildlife can be pretty mercurial. On a typical video shoot we aren’t always lucky enough to get pictures of all the birds or other critters we report on. 

That’s where our friends at Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology (known by most as “The Lab of O”) come to the rescue! Ask just about any birder in the country, and chances are they have checked out the live nest cams, or taken part in citizen science projects on the Lab of O website to learn more about our feathered friends. 

The Macaulay Library at the Lab of O is the world's largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video. And they’ve just reached a milestone!

All the archived recordings at the lab, dating back to 1929, have been digitized and can now be heard at

That’s nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings of about 9,000 species. While birds are by far the stars, you can hear, (and in many cases see) recordings of whales, elephants, frogs, and primates.  And on many of these recordings, you’ll hear the scientists on site discussing their work. 

So set aside some time to check out these treasures. And our sincere thanks to the folks at Macaulay for providing sounds and video to help us out on “This American Land.” 

Pinnacles National Park

- Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Series Producer Marsha Walton shares some information about Pinnacles National Park in California.

A few of our favorite stories on “This American Land” fall under the umbrella of “some of the most beautiful places you’ve never heard of…”

We have not visited this California spot yet, but wanted to let all our viewers know about the country’s 59th National Park. Pinnacles National Monument, established in 1908 by President Teddy Roosevelt, has just been elevated to Pinnacles National Park!

 The area is a volcanic field, rising out of the Gabilan Mountains east of central California's Salinas Valley, with beautiful monoliths, spires, cave passages and canyons.

The folks at the National Park Service say many visitors from the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas visit Pinnacles to rock climb, and to view wildlife and wildflowers. It’s a park that is most popular in cooler months. Last year Pinnacles hosted more than 343,000 visitors.

Pinnacles is also well known for its high-flying residents, the California condors. While on the rebound, the condor population is still very fragile. Pinnacles has been a partner of the California Condor Recovery Program since 2003. The park is one of three condor release sites in the country, and currently has 31 free-flying condors. 

You can learn more about these smart, fascinating birds in a story by our Bruce Burkhardt in episode 112 from the first season of “This American Land.” Bruce and producer Jay Canode looked at another threat to these birds: lead ammunition in the dead animals they feed on. In that story you’ll also meet some of the dedicated biologists and bird lovers working to increase the condor population in the west. 

Pinnacles National Park is a day-use park, with occasional full moon hikes and dark sky astronomical observations led by ranger-interpreters. 

If you’re a Pinnacles visitor—send us an e-mail and let us know some of your favorite trails and memories! 

Photo: West-bound view of the Balconies on the Old Pinn trail.

Photo courtesy National Park Service 

Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future

- Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Series co-host Caroline Raville on location for our story on the Nature Conservancy’s LEAF program.

Episode 213 of This American Land features an excellent story on the Nature Conservancy’s youth program called Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future, also known as LEAF.

The program creates opportunities for young people to engage with nature, from partnering with environmental high schools around the nation, to providing internship opportunities for students to explore careers connected to nature and the environment.

The program creates opportunities for young people to engage with nature, from partnering with environmental high schools around the nation, to providing internship opportunities for students to explore careers connected to nature and the environment.

Our story on the LEAF program follows students to beautiful Santa Cruz Island off the California coast. Watch the episode below, and visit the LEAF website for details on supporting this worthwhile program.


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THIS AMERICAN LAND is the leading conservation news magazine program on public television stations nationwide. Opening windows to our country’s amazing natural heritage, we report compelling stories on America’s landscapes, waters and wildlife, taking our viewers to the front lines of conservation, science and outdoor adventure with stories that inform and entertain.
Full episodes of THIS AMERICAN LAND can be viewed here.
THIS AMERICAN LAND AND SCIENCE NATION We are proud to partner with the National Science Foundation to bring our viewers exceptional reports from its SCIENCE NATION series in many of our episodes. Fast-paced and informative, each of these stories explores new scientific efforts to understand and conserve our natural resources.
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