April 14, 2016
As our production team prepares for season six of THIS AMERICAN LAND, coming soon to PBS stations nationwide, Series Host Ed Arnett reflects on his first experience in season five and looks forward to what’s coming up –
Ed Arnett: I really liked all of our stories from last season because they were so well done and informative. But I’m also a little biased, as my participation in the sage grouse story spawned my new adventures with This American Land and joining as the new host! More important though, that story was very timely and presented the key issues surrounding sage grouse and the sagebrush ecosystem to our viewers. In my 25+ year career as a wildlife biologist, I’ve never seen a greater effort to coordinate landscape conservation and management of an entire ecosystem like we saw for sage grouse – at it paid off in September last year when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the grouse did not warrant Endangered Species Act protection. I’m looking forward to telling our audience more about how sage grouse and sagebrush conservation developed and why it is so important to the American people.
I also really liked the story on Bristol Bay. This unique area is so incredibly important to the local, state and national economies and the traditions and values of local people in the region. Bristol Bay also provides some amazing recreational opportunities for any American who wants to venture there and experience it. The story truly epitomizes why our natural resources are so important to all Americans and why some areas are just too special to develop for other values.
I was truly flattered and honored to be offered the opportunity to join this ground-breaking series. What inspired me was the opportunity
to take my career experience as a biologist, work with my colleagues and partners across the country and generate new ideas and
stories that need to be told to our audience. A challenge for many natural resource professionals is the ability to convey their
messages about science, management, and conservation of our natural resources to the general public. We have to make conservation
relevant to real people who often are disconnected with nature. If we don’t tell the important stories about wildlife, public
lands, clean water, improving development and reducing impacts on the environment, and highlight the people making these things
happen, we will see a broadening disconnection as our society changes. When people lose interest or simply don’t know about nature,
their support for conservation will wane or never be established. THIS AMERICAN LAND is a fabulous bridge to reconnect
all Americans to the natural world and what conservation means for all of us and that’s what inspired me the most – the opportunity
to help build and maintain that bridge!
Stay tuned for more field notes. In the meantime, share your favorite story from season five in the comments!