AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON, a new six-part travel and adventure series, premieres Tuesdays, July 5 – August 9, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app. Hosted by New York Times bestselling author (How to Be Black), podcaster (How to Citizen with Baratunde), and outdoor enthusiast Baratunde Thurston, the series follows him on an adventure-filled journey to explore the diverse array of regions across the U.S. and how those landscapes shape the way Americans work, play and interact with the outdoors.
From wilderness pilots flying “below the rim” in Idaho, to coal miners turned beekeepers in Appalachia, to Black surfers catching waves in Los Angeles, Baratunde introduces viewers to a vivid cast of characters whose outdoor lives are shaped by where they live.
As a warming climate changes where outdoor enthusiasts can go and Americans debate how wild spaces can be made more accessible to all, AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON reveals a deeper understanding of our passionate and complicated relationship with the natural world.
“We’re thrilled to join Baratunde as he takes us on a journey to America’s wild spaces,” said Bill Gardner, Vice President, Multiplatform Programming and Head of Development at PBS. “So much of our history and culture is tied to the outdoors, and Baratunde’s unique ability to connect with people takes viewers to some unexpected places to explore just how our relationship with the outdoors is deeper and more important than we might think.”
“We think viewers will be transported by this journey to discover our outdoor lives and culture,” said Michael Rosenfeld, Vice President, National Production at Twin Cities PBS and Executive Producer of the series. “As we traveled the country we discovered a wide range of attitudes towards the outdoors, but we also found some consistent themes – most importantly, a deeply held belief that being outside is essential to our wellbeing, and access to outdoor spaces is worth fighting for.”
“This show was so much more than I expected,” Baratunde Thurston said. “I got a chance to reconnect with the beautifully diverse people of this country on the common ground we all share. From Indigenous nations who were here before we became a nation, to multi-generation ranchers and watermen, to newly arrived refugees, this isn’t just a show about the outdoors. It’s a show about America. Oh, and the cinematography is just epic. Best selfies of my life for sure.”
Descriptions and broadcast dates for each of the six episodes are provided below:
Death Valley: Life Blooms
Tuesday, July 5, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
It is the hottest place on Earth, but Death Valley is remarkably full of life. Baratunde Thurston seeks out the extremes of this national park and finds an outdoor mecca for those who embrace its heat, isolation, and natural beauty. Meet an ultra-marathoner who runs in the brutal heat of summer, the mayor of a town of one, and an elder of the Timbisha Shoshone tribe, who helps us see that this is a place where life blooms.
Idaho: Tied to the Land
Tuesday, July 12, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
Life on the American frontier is evolving. To find out how, and what it means, Baratunde ventures into the wild of Idaho in search of its outdoor culture. He finds ranchers and backcountry pilots sharing the wilderness with newly resettled refugees and sees how climate change is wreaking havoc on the age-old salmon fishery.
Los Angeles: It’s a Vibe
Tuesday, July 19, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
Baratunde explores his adopted hometown to learn how Angelinos connect with the outdoors in their sprawling city. From kayakers saving a polluted river to Black surfers claiming their place on the waves, preserving access to outdoor LA is something worth fighting for.
Appalachia: A Different Way
Tuesday, July 26, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
Appalachia may seem like a place locked in time, but its people know a thing or two about change, especially when it comes to the outdoors. From a trail-blazing hiker to a 21st century forager, Baratunde meets the people driving a revolution in how we see and interact with nature.
Tuesday, August 2, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
Along the coast of North Carolina, there is more to outdoor life than sun and surf. As he treks through a daunting swamp, soars above the dunes on a Wright Brothers glider, and tracks wild horses on the beach, Baratunde discovers how these outdoor environments were shaped by a surprising force: history.
Minnesota: A Better World
Tuesday, August 9, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
What does the wild mean to Americans today? To find out, Baratunde journeys into Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region, one of the last places where you can hike or paddle your way into the remote wilderness. From passionate birders to harvesters of wild rice, he encounters a fascinating cast of characters – and hears from them why wilderness means so much.
AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON is produced by Twin Cities PBS in partnership with Part2 Pictures for PBS. Michael Rosenfeld is executive producer for Twin Cities PBS. David Shadrack Smith and Melissa Wood are executive producers for Part2 Pictures. Bill Gardner is executive in charge for PBS. Series producer is Matt Hill and Melissa Wood is showrunner.
AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON will be available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
About Baratunde Thurston
Baratunde Thurston is a force of nature and an essential voice for our times. He is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for “The Daily Show,” advised the Obama White House and wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black. He’s the executive producer, creator and host of How To Citizen with Baratunde, which Apple named one of its favorite podcasts of 2020. Baratunde recently received the Social Impact Award at the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards on behalf of How to Citizen with Baratunde. In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time.” The TED Talk has since been viewed over five million times. Baratunde is unique in his ability to integrate and synthesize themes of race, culture, politics and technology to explain where our nation is and where we can take it. Baratunde serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library and lives in Los Angeles, California. As a child, he was a Boy Scout and still remembers how to build a fire without matches.
About Twin Cities PBS
Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s mission is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media. Established 67 years ago, TPT now operates as a public service media organization that harnesses a range of media tools to serve citizens in new ways – with multiple broadcast channels, online teaching resources, educational outreach and community engagement activities reaching more than two million people each month. Over its history, TPT has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmy(R) Awards. For more information, visit TPT online, follow TPT on Facebook and Twitter.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.
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