Take advantage of this month’s Learning at Home broadcast schedule – great for students engaged in hybrid or distance instruction, and families looking to spend some extra, quality time together!
After watching these fascinating programs, explore the PBS LearningMedia and web resources to learn more.
Friday, April 1
1 PM: Poetry in America: Mending Wall
Do good fences really make good neighbors? Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” asks surprising questions about the role of walls in civil society. Host Elisa New gathers Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, author Julia Alvarez, political commentator David Gergen, Frost biographer and poet Jay Parini, poet Rhina Espaillat, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith to delve into this classic poem.
Follow Marin Alsop’s journey to become the first female music director of a major American symphony despite repeated rejection by the classical music industry. Great Performances: The Conductor features archival footage with her mentor Leonard Bernstein and is set to a soundtrack of her performances.
1 PM: Heart’s Delight: The Story of William H. Miner
This 90-minute documentary chronicles the life and legacy of one the most notable North Country figures. William Miner was an orphan, an inventor, an entrepreneur, a farmer, a millionaire, and the greatest philanthropist the North Country has ever known. William Miner’s ambitious pursuits included the development of Heart’s Delight Farm, which had 300 buildings and employed 800 workers on 15,000 acres. He founded a railroad appliance company that is still in operation today in Chicago. He built the Chazy Central Rural School, the first centralized school district in NY State, and the Physicians Hospital. More than 85 years after his death, the North Country still benefits from his generosity.
2:30 PM: Rediscovering the Light: Restoring New York’s Capitol
After twelve years of restoration projects, the Capitol is once again the shining jewel of the Empire State. Witness the results of hundreds of skilled workers and artisans to illuminate areas that had been cloaked in darkness for over half a century.
In this episode we unpack the story of the world class teams behind five of our world-first expeditions. Having the right team members, with the right skills, expertise and thirst for adventure, was key to exploring the remote Arctic wilderness, the flooded caves of Mexico, the impenetrable Indonesian jungle and a hidden gorge in the heart of the forests of South America.
2 PM: Daring Women Doctors: Physicians in the 19th Century
Hidden in American history, all women’s medical schools began to appear in the mid 19th century long before women had the right to vote or own property. “Daring Women Doctors” highlights the intrepid, pioneering and diverse women who faced hostility and resistance in their pursuit of medical educations.
1 PM: Benjamin Franklin | Episode 1: “Join or Die” (1706-1774)
Ken Burns’s two-part, four-hour documentary, Benjamin Franklin, explores the revolutionary life of one of the 18th century’s most consequential and compelling personalities, whose work and words unlocked the mystery of electricity and helped create the United States. In the first episode, “Join or Die,” leaving behind his Boston childhood, Benjamin Franklin reinvents himself in Philadelphia where he builds a printing empire and a new life with his wife, Deborah. Turning to science, Franklin’s lightning rod and experiments in electricity earn him worldwide fame. After entering politics, he spends years in London trying to keep Britain and America together as his own family starts to come apart.
1 PM: Benjamin Franklin | Episode 2: “An American” (1775-1790)
Benjamin Franklin leaves London and returns to wartime Philadelphia where he joins Congress and helps Thomas Jefferson craft the Declaration of Independence. In Paris, he wins French support for the American Revolution then negotiates a peace treaty with Britain. He spends his last years in the new United States, working on the Constitution and unsuccessfully promoting the abolition of slavery.
1 PM: Poetry in America: The Language of the Brag and The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters
Sharon Olds’s “The Language of the Brag” and Bernadette Mayer’s “The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters” are exuberant, boisterous tributes to motherhood. Both poets join host Elisa New, actor Donna Lynne Champlin, writer Emily Oster, activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, obstetrician Lorna Wilkerson, and co-founders of Our Bodies Ourselves to explore the miracle, and mess, of creating new life.
Author Yiyun Li and choreographer Miguel Gutierrez make work that fuels—and is fueled by—self-understanding. Great suffering drove Yiyun Li to find solace in writing. Witnessing his own development with a watchful eye has kept highflying choreographer Miguel Gutierrez grounded.
2 PM: Great Performances | Now Hear This “Haydn: The King of Strings”
Explore the work of famed composer Joseph Haydn’s career with host Scott Yoo and featured guest artists as he discovers how Haydn borrowed folk music from Scotland, Hungary and Austria to create his famous “Emperor Quartet.”
From Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, an old, battle-scarred hippo bull has an incredible story to tell. Previously hippos were almost always misunderstood because their secret life happens beneath the water and under the cover of darkness. This tale imagines a story of 35 years from when the hippo was a vulnerable orphan to the ultimate battle that crowns him king decades later. From birth to exile to redemption, follow the life of the “Hippo King” and discover the true character of one of Earth’s largest land mammals.
Three women at risk of developing Alzheimer’s join a groundbreaking study to try to prevent the disease, while sharing their ups and downs, anxiously watching for symptoms, and hoping they can make a difference. Barb, Sigrid, and Karen all had mothers with Alzheimer’s and witnessed first hand the devastation wrought by the disease, not only on the mind and body, but on patients’ families. Now, they are all participating in a major study that tracks the health and memory of thousands of people over many years, as researchers hunt for life-style changes and medicines that could improve all our chances and ultimately protect the brain and body from one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
In this episode we unpack the behind-the-scenes camerawork and logistics that made filming five of our expeditions possible. Working together, Steve and the team not only ventured into the unknown, they brought these epics journeys to the TV screen.
Join a team of investigators as they search for the identity of the captain of a “mystery ship” that turned away from the “unsinkable” Titanic in its darkest hour, abandoning thousands of lives to the icy waters and their deaths.
In 1948, a British pilot serving in Iraq acquired a clay tablet with an intriguing, 3,700 year-old inscription. The ancient writing tells the story of how the god Enki warns a Sumerian king named Atra-Hasis of a future flood that will destroy mankind; Enki gives him instructions for building a boat to save his family and livestock. If that sounds like a familiar tale, it’s because this was one of several ancient flood traditions that, centuries later, would inspire the biblical story of Noah. But the tablet’s inscription describes a boat very different from the traditional image of the Ark—it’s said to be circular and made of reeds. Is this nothing more than a fanciful myth? Or could such a reed boat have carried Atra-Hasis’ family of more than one hundred and his many animals? Join NOVA as a team of historians and expert boat builders investigates this fascinating flood legend and sets out to rebuild a tantalizing, ancient forerunner of the Ark.
The Dead Sea is dying: Since 1976, its level has dropped more than 100 feet, leaving its coastline pockmarked with thousands of sinkholes. But after more than a decade of research and debate, scientists, engineers, and political leaders have come up with a daring plan: connect the Red Sea to the Dead Sea by way of a massive desalination plant. If it’s successful, the project could not only revive the sea, but also help ease political tensions and water shortages in the region. NOVA follows this unprecedented endeavor—perhaps the world’s largest water chemistry experiment—as scientists race to save the Dead Sea and bring water to one of the driest regions on Earth.
From Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, through to his eventual crucifixion six days later, the key moments have been immortalized in countless films, pieces of music, and works of art. Explore how dramatic political events in Rome could have played a crucial role in shaping Jesus’ destiny, and examine an extraordinary political alliance that altered the course of history.
1 PM: Poetry in America: Bear Fat & Rabbits and Fire
Two poems, by Linda Hogan and Alberto Ríos, follow wolves, jackrabbits, and other animals across the harsh Great Plains and Sonoran Desert. Both poets join wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin, film director Chris Eyre, Native American scholars Philip Deloria and Stephanie Fitzgerald, and a chorus of students to discuss how the poems call back difficult histories of human migration in the American west.
Poet Yusef Komunyakaa and writer Jennifer Weiner know that honest work can reveal new truths. Poet Yusef Komunyakaa survived the Jim Crow South and later the Vietnam War. Over the years, he’s kept his faith in the future. Jennifer Weiner has channeled early unhappy episodes into character-driven novels that have sold millions.
2 PM: Great Performances | Now Hear This “Amy Beach: Rise to Prominence”
Host Scott Yoo and his wife, flutist Alice Dade, perform the work of Romantic era classical composer Amy Beach at Festival Mosaic and uncover Beach’s many musical influences. Featuring performances of Beach’s works, the duo visits places Beach took inspiration from throughout her life, including an artist residency at MacDowell in New Hampshire, where she wrote “Hermit Thrush at Morn,” “Hermit Thrush at Evening” and more. Along the way, Yoo and Dade also explore the works of European female composers and musicians Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and Louise Farrenc, and even stop to discover the music in the vineyards of California.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has long protected survivors of the Ice Age, but this frozen fortress is melting due to climate change. For the caribou, musk oxen, polar bears and Arctic foxes, the Ice Age is slipping away.
Every year, up to eighty polar bears gather on the frozen shores of Barter Island, near the village of Kaktovik, to feast on the hunter-harvested bowhead whale remains. This extraordinary gathering is not only highly unusual, it turns dangerous as the whale bones are picked bare, and the huge group of polar bears heads for the town.
Take a fresh look at a topic that has sparked controversy for decades. During the years leading up to WWII, what was the Vatican’s reaction to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany? After the war began, how did the pope respond to the horrors of the Holocaust? In telling that story, “Holy Silence” focuses on American officials who worked behind the scenes to influence the Vatican’s actions.
2 PM: Rise of the Nazis: Dictators at War | Barbarossa
At the peak of his powers, Hitler tries to deceive the Russian leader with a plan to invade Britain, while secretly preparing an attack on the Soviet Union. But Stalin has a spy in Hitler’s HQ. With Germany facing defeat on the Eastern Front, resistance builds as he pushes Germany to untold destruction. This is the story of why dictatorships fail, and of the hubris that nearly destroyed freedom, but ultimately destroyed itself.
1 PM: My Native Air: Charles Evans Hughes and the Adirondacks
Four of New York’s Governors went on to be elected President. Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, and both Frankin D. Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt. All famous names in both New York and national politics. Another former governor, who was born in the Adirondacks, came within just a few thousand votes of winning the White House, narrowly losing the 1916 Presidential Election to Woodrow Wilson. Despite that loss, he would later serve as U.S. Secretary of State and then as Chief Justice of the United States. Yet many people have heard very little over the years about Charles Evans Hughes. A new documentary is looking to change that. Maury Thompson, a longtime reporter with the Post Star newspaper in Glens Falls, has teamed up with filmmaker Caitlyn Stedman to produce a new film on Hughes’ life and legacy.
2 PM: Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector
Follow the musical trail of folk collector Marjorie Lansing Porter as we explore gorgeous American vistas. In the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, Porter tirelessly recorded folk songs that were on the brink of disappearing. Now, contemporary singers and musicians honor her collection by re-recording these traditional tunes in Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector.
1 PM: The Resilient Ones: A Generation Takes on Climate Change
Go on a journey with a group of high school students seeking solutions to climate change. The Resilient Ones: A Generation Takes on Climate Change invites you along to meet with the local leaders and expert innovators as these students work to make a difference in the Adirondack mountains of Northern NY.
Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species is an exciting and informative film by Westfield Production Company. The documentary introduces the concept of invasive species and highlights some of the species threatening New York’s environment and economy, while also showing some innovative ways that New York State is combatting these threats. Uninvited features the collaborative work of DEC and its partners including NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, the eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs), New York State Invasive Species Research Institute (NYISRI), and more.
1 PM: Poetry in America: Sonnet IV; I shall forget you presently, my dear
In 1920s Greenwich Village, Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote Shakespearean sonnets that toppled clichés of love and romance. To probe this unsentimental break-up poetry, host Elisa New speaks with musician Natalia Zukerman, poet Olivia Gatwood, New York Times advice columnist Philip Galanes, writer Leslie Jamison, scholar of Greenwich Village Jeffery Kennedy, and a chorus of National Student Poets.
The observations and experiences of poet Paul Muldoon and multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham are powerfully rendered in their work. Through poetry, Paul Muldoon sought reconciliation with the violence of his early life in Northern Ireland. He found acceptance. Daniel Arsham has thrived in fine art, architecture, design, film, fashion, and performance by approaching each with creativity, intellect—and science.
2 PM: Great Performances | Now Hear This “Florence Price and the Great Migration”
Host Scott Yoo follows the trail of great African American composer Florence Price, learning that West African music and European hymns inspired nearly all American popular music. He begins with the Arkansas archives that house Price’s work, which was originally found in the attic of an abandoned Chicago house. Then, Yoo joins pianist Karen Walwyn to discover where Price grew up and the spiritual music she was surrounded by in the South before moving to Chicago seeking equality and opportunity. Yoo explores Southern migrants’ musical impact on the city and gospel music with singer Vernon Oliver Price and former choir director Lou Della Evans Reid. Other performances by musicians inspired by Price, include pianist Michelle Cann, blues musician Jonn Primer, opera singers Rod Dixon and Alfreda Burke, showing how powerful Price’s influence remains today.
Every year over seven years, conservationist M. Sanjayan anchors a global storytelling effort to monitor seven iconic locations across the planet. Featuring the latest science and emphasizing local voices, each location represents a unique biome and a litmus test for change happening across the planet. Some locations are heavily protected; others will experience pioneering schemes to rebuild the habitats; others could be lost forever. There are winners and losers, positive changes and reasons for hope. Locations include the West Coast of America, the Great Barrier Reef, the East African Plains, the Arctic, the Sundarbans and the Ganges, the Amazon Basin, and coastal Southeast Asia.
The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart was one of America’s first celebrities. After only a few years as a pilot she became the best-known female flier in America, not only for her daring and determination but also for her striking looks and outspoken personality. Three weeks before her 40th birthday Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, and her story became legend.
2 PM: Rise of the Nazis: Dictators at War | Stalingrad
The battles on the Eastern Front, a campaign that saw some of the most brutal and inhumane warfare in all of history, are viewed by many as the defining conflict of the Second World War. In “Stalingrad,” it’s 1942 and Hitler has just lost the Battle of Moscow. Now winter in Russia, German troops are in desperate need of fuel and resources.
New York’s Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Great Smokies National Parks combined. It is one of the largest unbroken deciduous forests on earth. It has a thousand of miles of streams and rivers, hundreds of lakes, and lofty peaks. Even more amazing, most of the land within the park is privately owned, and 85 million people live within a day’s drive. Yet the Adirondacks seem entirely undeveloped. How did that happen? The founding of the Adirondack Park Agency, 50 years ago, was truly, A Wild Idea.
This revealing film examines how human activity is setting off dangerous warming loops that are pushing the climate to a point of no return – and what we need to do to stop them. With captivating illustrations, stunning footage and interviews with leading climate scientists as well as support from Greta Thunberg and Jane Fonda, “Earth Emergency” adds the missing piece of the climate puzzle.
Holocaust survivors partner with songwriters to turn their life experiences into powerful music for a community concert. The resulting songs, filled with joy and healing, celebrate the extraordinary lives of this resilient generation.
2 PM: Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk
Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk tells the moving story of retired SUNY professor and Czech Holocaust survivor Vladimir Munk, who at age 95, returns to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where he was held prisoner during World War II. The trip would be his last chance to honor thirty of his close relatives, including his parents, who were killed at Auschwitz, the most notorious of the Nazi death camps. Joining Vladimir on his journey were two filmmakers and a good friend who is a writer and producer from the North Country. Julie Canepa, Bruce Carlin, and Paul Frederick teamed up to produce the film.
Writer Samuel R. Delany and interdisciplinary artist and designer Orkan Telhan interrogate the present to glimpse the future. Celebrated science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany witnessed great changes that have made the world better. And he has hope for more. Curiosity and collaboration have been driving forces in the life of interdisciplinary artist Orkan Telhan.
Claude Lafortune invented the Art of Paper. For five decades, this Quebec artist created characters and sets using only paper, scissors and glue. Lafortune en papier paints a moving portrait of this man recognized for youth programs promoting creativity and acceptance of others. This film is an ode to artists who persevere out of sheer dedication to their passion.