Protected by federal law, wild horses and burros in the West are breeding out of control on public lands, damaging habitats and competing with wildlife for food and water – a problem that is now a crisis that needs a solution. With new water rights and a major irrigation project under construction, Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community is reviving an agricultural heritage that sustained them for centuries before white settlers arrived. A pilot project in Minnesota for immigrant families shows how small-scale sustainable farming with poultry and perennial crops can provide extra income with little investment of time.
After decades of underfunding, America’s national parks face a backlog of repairs and maintenance now totaling nearly 12 billion dollars. Alarmed by advancing urban sprawl, conservationists in South Carolina rely on the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire land needed to protect the natural wonders of a special coastal landscape. Researchers in Minnesota are developing perennial food crops that could revolutionize American agriculture.
Bison Homecoming: The buffalo are back! One hundred years after Native American Michael Pablo sent his captive bison herd to Canada to help preserve the dwindling species, dozens of their direct descendants were released into the bison herd on the American Prairie Reserve in northern Montana. The World Wildlife Fund has been collaborating with the American Prairie Reserve to help restore the grasslands habitat for the bison, birds, and other important native species that roamed the region when Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805.
Preserving Tribal Languages: The passion of tribal elders and 21st century video technology are merging to bring new life to the Ojibwe language. Using “home movies” that depict everyday scenarios, experts at the University of Minnesota-Duluth are helping new generations learn and appreciate the language and culture.
Peregrine Protection: Peregrine falcons are making a comeback—in some most unusual places. With help from bird lovers in Iowa, this once nearly extinct raptor has a new place to call home—atop an Iowa skyscraper! Once nearly wiped out by DDT, local falconers and the state Department of Natural Resources helped design a nest box that’s keeping peregrine parents safe and cozy, and helping provide for a healthy new generation.
Soaring with Paragliders: Jumping off a cliff has never been so spectacular! Daredevils in Oregon use thermal currents in a sort of “yacht race in the sky.” 160 pilots joined the “Rat Race” in the intricate sport of paragliding. Their only source of power is the thermal lift from hot air. Even the crew of “Oregon Field Guide” at Oregon Public Broadcasting got in on the act during this breathtaking event.