Ken Burns: The National Parks: America's Best Idea DVD + Bonus Educator's Disc - AV Item

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THE NATIONAL PARKS is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved for everyone. The series traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years, chronicling the addition of new parks through the stories of the people who helped create them.

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Features & Benefits


  • Country of Origin: United States

AV Benefits:

Why the AV version? Because it provides additional usage options for PBS videos. AV versions come with limited performance rights so they can be shown in classrooms, at PTA meetings, during after school programs, and transmitted on a closed-circuit system within a building or on a single campus. They also can be enjoyed in admission-free public screenings, which also makes them ideal for use by library patrons and businesses involved in community clubs and organizations.
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Professional Reviews:

2010 Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series.

"...a strong candidate for the most beautiful program ever to air on American television." - Orlando Sentinel

"Absolutely riveting nature cinematography...think of it as Planet Earth featuring places you may actually go..." - Mark Kirby, GQ MAGAZINE

"....A twelve-hour, six-part feast of spectacular cinematography, archival photographs, and old-fashioned storytelling...." - Sue Halpern, CONDE NAST TRAVELER,

"It's a lavish production..." - Jonathan Storm, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

"Better make those park reservations now. The country's most famous documentarian is hoping to do for the national parks what he did for its battlefields after the airing of his landmark PBS series "The Civil War"" - Martin Miller, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Majestic..." - Lisa de Moraes, WASHINGTON POST

"A brilliantly told tale..." - CAMPING LIFE MAGAZINE

"The National Parks, America's Best Idea" - which is scheduled to be shown over six nights on PBS in the fall - is stunning and restorative, like the parks themselves." Timothy Egan, NEW YORK TIMES

"Burns hears America singing. He is a veritable Fourth of July parade humming in tribute to the philosophy of Thoreau, the idealism of Thomas Jefferson and the eye of Ansel Adams. The baby-faced filmmaker is a big brass band noodling the theme of democracy." - Joanne Ostrow, DENVER POST

Product Description


  • Country of Origin: United States

Episode Details:

As a companion to this groundbreaking series, the Teacher's Guide with bonus disc includes classroom-ready video clips and curriculum ideas and modules that incorporate a wide range of academic subjects and grade levels including:

  • History
  • Civics (public policy)
  • Economics
  • Geography/Environmental Education
  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Art/photography
    The curriculum features Place-based Education (PBE)--an integrated approach to learning by engaging students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, and experiential opportunities as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, art and other subjects.

    Lessons and activities examine the rich history of the national parks, the economic aspects of balancing public and private wealth, the art and photography of the breathtaking geography that inspired so many people, and the human story of politics and policy that shaped and continue to shape the parks today.

    Lessons for grades 7-10 include start-to-finish teacher information, opening or warm up activities, featured activities, extension activities, and resources. Complete standards and other lesson ideas are available at


    • Directed and produced by Ken Burns
    • Special Features:
      Disc One - The Making of The National Parks (Includes Spanish Audio and Subtitles);

      Disc Two - Capturing the Parks (A behind-the-scenes look at filming of The National Parks: America's Best Idea);

      Disc Three - Musical Journeys through the National Parks (National Parks Timeline, Peace at Last/ Across the Ocean, Horizons, Green Groves of Erin, The Shores of Ogygia, Teddy Bears' Picnic);

      Disc Four - Outtakes (An Interview with Nevada Barr, author and former National Park Service ranger; and The Boss, the story of Frank Pinkley and Casa Grande. Narrated by Ken Burns);

      Disc Five - The National Parks: This Is America (Mini Documentary, Includes Spanish Audio and Subtitles); and

      Disc Six - Contemporary Stories from America's National Parks (San Antonio Missions: Keeping History Alive, Yosemite's Buffalo Soldiers, Mount Rushmore: Telling America's Stories, Manzanar: "Never Again," City Kids in National Parks, Includes Spanish Audio and Subtitles).