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Episode Guide:  American Public Television / Season 1


Torrey Pines Cliffs
Episode 1.  California - An Ecological Island

Original Air Date:  November 13, 2011

While largely famous for reasons not related to nature, the state of California is actually biodiversity personified. Featuring a wide range of habitats and the species that occupy them, California is a hotbed for ecological prosperity. California’s natural uniqueness makes it a truly one-of-a-kind place. More specifically, it makes it a metaphorical island, if you will, of the natural world. Join Patrick as he explores the plethora of biomes that the Golden State has to offer.


Elephant Seals
Episode 2.  California - Hope, Survival and Resilience

Original Air Date:  November 15, 2011

Although the California wilderness has faced plenty of adversity, its diversity has persisted through it all. From the kelp forests that hug the coastline to the lush redwood forests that fortify the mainland, California is rich in habitat variety. Tune in as Patrick details the enthralling stories of several fascinating animals that embody the spirit of Californian resiliency.


Musk OxEpisode 3.  Beringia - The Eternal Frontier

Original Air Date:  November 20, 2011

Even though it lies on the edge of the continent, Alaska is the heart of the North American wilderness. Serving as a harbor of sorts, for people and animals alike, during the time of the Beringia land bridge, Alaska is a constant reminder of how the potpourri of wildlife that the North American continent boasts came to fruition. Traverse with Patrick across the bountiful landscape of Alaska, North America’s everlasting frontier.


arctic-iceEpisode 4.  Reshaping the Arctic

Original Air Date:  December 13, 2011

Climate change can negatively affect even the most enduring of landscapes, including the Last Frontier. Alaska’s tundra is being deteriorated by climate change at an alarming rate, causing many to worry about the fate of this highly important natural environment. While Alaska’s ecosystem functions by way of many natural relationships, climate change is causing these connections to become more tenuous with each passing day. Travel to Alaska with Patrick as he surveys the wildlife and examines the long-term effects that climate change could potentially have upon them.


Rice FieldEpisode 5.  The Rice Kingdom

Original Air Date:  December 27, 2011

Mankind has a tendency to impact the environment in a major way, and, believe it or not, some of that impact can be positive. The rice plantations that populated the Lowcountry of South Carolina in the colonial and antebellum periods spawned highly productive freshwater habitats that still thrive today. Watch as Patrick and guest Richard Porcher shed light upon the underappreciated beauty of these rice fields, as well as the ecological significance that they hold.


Arizona Sky Islands

Episode 6.  Arizona's Sky Islands

Original Air Date:  January 17, 2012

Southern Arizona features the ultimate oxymoron of habitats: a rainy desert. This fertile crescent of sorts boasts an impressive collection of gorgeous vegetation and a broad expanse of grassland. Elevation is a key factor behind this region’s unique array of natural wonders, making it a virtual "Island in the Sky." Trek with Patrick across one of America’s most fascinating regions, the proverbial oasis of the Sonoran Desert.


Border FenceEpisode 7.  Arizona - A Border or Barrier?

Original Air Date:  January 22, 2012

Of course, the fence that lines the border between Arizona and Mexico is a hot button issue in the political realm, but it also carries weight in ecological discussions. While the fence is intended to prevent the passageway of people over the border, it also does the same for wildlife, which is a serious grievance in terms of human interference with the procession of nature. Join Patrick as he explores the biological diversity of Southern Arizona and analyzes the impact that the border fence has on it.


Oconee Bell FlowerEpisode 8.  Blue Ridge - The Heart of the Eastern Forest

Original Air Date:  January 24, 2012

The Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment is known far and wide for its diversity of trees that are a collective sight for sore eyes in the autumn. Featuring both acid cove forests and rich cove forests, this region is teeming with an abundance of plant life that is world-renowned. Visit with Patrick as he provides an in-depth look at just what makes this portion of Appalachia so special.


Trillium and WaterfallEpisode 9.  Blue Ridge - A Crucible of Life

Original Air Date:  February 12, 2012

Home to several unique plant species that exist nowhere else in the wild, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment is a haven for biodiversity. Waterfalls are aplenty in this region as well, with water playing a major role in the biome’s very existence. However, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment is undergoing changes to its habitat, some of which involve water, that forebode major transformations to come. Follow along as Patrick pays a visit to one of nature’s most remarkable melting pots in a region that truly is a crucible of life.


Storm on the Great PlainsEpisode 10.  Great Plains Part 1: An Ever-changing Tapestry

Original Air Date:  April 25, 2010

Nebraska may not be your first choice for a summer vacation, but if you love wildlife you might want to reconsider. On his first trip here Patrick expected corn, but what he found was a beautiful and diverse sea of grass, canyons, badlands and sandhills, all bursting with life. This is the heart of the Great Plains, the heartland of the continent that is tied to every corner and every life.  Join Patrick on an unforgettable voyage of discovery through this immense sea of grass as he explores the ever-changing tapestry of the Great Plains.


Black-footed FerretEpisode 11.  Great Plains Part 2: Ghosts of the Plains

Original Air Date:  May 2, 2010

Imagine 30 million Bison and 4 billion Prairie Dogs sharing the plains with us. In only a decade these massive herds were all but extinguished. We look back at the actions of the people in the 19th century in disbelief; how could they do that? But did we learn from their mistakes, or are we doomed to repeat them? Prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets and kit foxes — these are the stories and species of our time. Join Patrick as he journeys into the prairie with researchers who are trying to change the fate of those that are on the verge of becoming the ghosts of the plains.


Roan MountainEpisode 12.  Grassy Balds: The Heart of Roan

Original Air Date:  April 18, 2010

Few places can inspire a naturalist as much as Roan Mountain. The crown jewel of this highland is its grassy balds — vast treeless grasslands that are reminiscent of prairies. They shelter many rare and endangered species and connect man to the natural world as poignantly as possible. Yet the balds are one of nature’s greatest riddles.  Where did they come from and, maybe more importantly, where are they going? Join Patrick as he explores the grassy balds, the heart of Roan.


Sandhill CranesEpisode 13.  The Rite of Spring

Original Air Date:  February 27, 2011

Birds migrate huge distances from wintering grounds. Frogs, each with their own unique voice, call from wetlands. Deer and elk battle with anglers as weapons. What is the point of all of this? Every spring, thousands of species participate in rites — rituals with a single goal in mind: breeding. Join Patrick, along with guests Matt Johnson and Drew Lanham, as they explore the amazing, and often bizarre rituals of many creatures across the continent and right outside your back door.


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