Sunflower Journeys Presents: The Nature Of Kansas (2 DVD - Set)
Show 1 - "Off the Beaten Path"
In this show, we meet Gus van der Hoeven, a retired extension specialist in landscape and environmental horticulture at Kansas State University, who shares his observations about the way we perceive and interact with the Kansas landscape. Then we stop in Big Springs, a town that was once a watering hole for travelers on the Oregon Trail. After that, we meet the authors of a Kansas hiking guide on a scenic trail near Elk City.
Show 2 - "Northwestern Kansas"
In this show, we visit the badlands known as the Arikaree Breaks. Jim McCauley and Craig Freeman explain how geological forces acted together to form the picturesque ridges and deep canyons of the region and what kind of plant life survives here. Next we head about 50 miles east of Colby to a farm near the small town of Morland, where a rich deposit of fossils several million years old have been discovered. And finally, we visit Osborne County, where a group of local boosters organize bicycle tours to teach local history while enjoying the fresh air and open roads of the area.
Show 3 - "Southeastern Kansas"
The first story explores The Red Buffalo Ranch near Sedan, acquired by veteran television journalist Bill Kurtis. Kurtis reflects upon his broadcasting career and demonstrates why he still feels a special connection to this part of the world. Next, we stop to reflect on life in the small southeastern Kansas town of Cedar Vale, exploring the community's relationship with the Big Caney River. Then we visit the Neosho Wildlife Area in southeastern Neosho County, examining the ecological dynamics as well as the various inhabitants of this habitat.
Show 4 - "Western Kansas"
We learn the history and lore of Waconda Springs, a sacred spot for Pawnee and other Plains Indian tribes, flooded in 1970 by the waters of Glen Elder Reservoir. Next, we travel to Lake Scott State Park to learn how the state acquired this property, learning about El Cuatelejo, the remnants of a 17th century pueblo occupied by Taos Indians from the Southwest. And finally, we explore a large ranch north of Lake Scott in Logan County. Acquired by The Nature Conservancy, the ranch represents a prime example of the shortgrass prairie that once extended across much of western Kansas.
Show 5 - "Northeastern Kansas"
In the first story, we learn what fossils can tell us about the prehistoric animals that roamed the region of the Kaw Valley. We examine various Ice Age fossils that have been exposed by the Kansas River. Then we look at private bison herds in Kansas with visits to two bison ranches in the northeastern part of the state. Once near extinction, bison have made a big comeback in the US, and many Kansas ranchers are discovering the benefits of returning them to the prairie. The last story explores some of the scenic byways of Kansas and how nine back-roads in the Kaw Valley area have been designated as "Rustic Roads."
Show 6 - "Central Kansas"
First we focus on the McPherson Valley Wetlands. These wetlands were drained during the early 20th century for farming, but local citizens are working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to bring the wetlands back to their natural state. Next, we visit the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge located in the wetlands between Hutchinson and Great Bend for a look at the waterfowl that stop at the refuge on their migratory flights. Then talk with Gus van der Hoeven to find out about the Kansas Landscape Arboretum at Milford Reservoir near Wakefield.
Show 7 - "The Flint Hills"
We travel to a pasture near Winfield where The Paul Winter Consort performs a symphony called "Grasslands" in an outdoor concert with the Winfield Regional Symphony. Then we find out how the National Park Service has developed a management plan for the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Chase. And in our final segment, photographer James Nedresky and painter Louis Copt head for the prairie together to see how each artist captures the essence and the beauty of the Flint Hills region.
Show 8 - "Southwestern Kansas" .
First, we explore the unique geology, geography, and flora of the Red Hills of south central Kansas. Next we explore the semi-arid Cimarron National Grasslands near Elkhart, observing snakes and other reptiles commonly found in these grasslands, which cover more than 100,000 acres in southwestern Kansas. Then we talk with two veteran photographers from the Kansas Department Wildlife and Parks in Pratt, who share their knowledge of the state's diverse wildlife and their passion to capture its beauty.
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