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WKU-PBS Specials

Western Kentucky University's PBS station spent two years travelling throughout the state to film KNP's most spectacular natural areas and nature preserves to professionally film two 30-minute specials. You can watch them in their entirety, as well as short clips and extras on the KNP YouTube page :

Kentucky Life

The Kentucky Educational Television (KET) Kentucky Life program began in 1995 and since its launch has been committed to showcasing the wonders of Kentucky's natural heritage. The following is a list of past programs with links to KET's website where most can be watched online. 

Program 102: Among the Tall TimbersProgram 102: Among the Tall Timbers. (1995). Explore Kentucky’s largest old-growth forest as retired KNP Ecologist Marc Evans leads viewers through Blanton Forest in Harlan County. (Also part of Kentucky Life Program 805).

Program 313: A Quiet Walk.Program 313: A Quiet Walk. (1996). Take a fall walk with Bill Wiglesworth as he shows us around the Quiet Trails State Nature Preserve in Harrison County, which his family donated to the people of Kentucky.

Program 404: Wet and Wild.Program 404: Wet and Wild. (1997).  Visit some of the inhabitants of the Terrapin Creek State Nature Preserve, a 200-acre wetland in Graves County that’s home to several rare fish and amphibians.

Program 421: Quoth the Raven.Program 421: Quoth the Raven. (1998). Come along on a visit to Bad Branch State Nature Preserve in Letcher County. This rugged preserve shelters several endangered and rare species and gives the modern-day human visitor a glimpse of what the eastern Kentucky forest was like before any settlement.

Program 603: In the Swamp.Program 603: In the Swamp. (2000). Take a tour of Metropolis Lake State Nature Preserve in McCracken County. This oxbow lake, just south of the Ohio River, features cypress swamp habitats.

Program 715: Daniel Boone Stepped Here? Program 715: Daniel Boone Stepped Here? (2001). Host Dave Shuffett hikes up Pilot Knob in Powell County. This hill, now the centerpiece of a state nature preserve, is believed to be the “eminence” from which Daniel Boone got his first panoramic look at the central Kentucky hills in 1769.

Program 802: Trail Blazers.Program 802: Trail Blazers. (2002). Expected to take 10 years to complete, the construction of the Pine Mountain Trail is a mostly volunteer effort, organized and supported by a broad coalition of local and state government agencies and private groups. When they’re through, they hope the trail will stretch 120 miles through Bell, Harlan and Letcher counties.

Program 805: Fall Foliage.Program 805: Fall Foliage. (2002). A music video montage of scenic vistas, wildflowers and other sights at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, featuring host Dave Shuffett. Program also includes re-aired segment Among the Tall Timbers on Blanton Forest.

Program 907: History and HabitatProgram 907: History and Habitat. (2003). Host Dave Shuffett visits Lower Howard’s Creek Heritage Park and State Nature Preserve in Clark County. The preserve is a storehouse of both human and natural history, with archaeological remains dating back to the late 18th century Kentucky frontier and second-growth forest that shelters several rare plant species.

Program 1005: Hiking in Hardin.Program 1005: Hiking in Hardin.(2004). In a scenic music video, host Dave Shuffett goes for a hike at the Vernon-Douglas State Nature Preserve in Hardin County, which offers trails through second-growth forest and impressive displays of wildflowers each spring.

Program 1010: Kentucky's Last Great Places.Program 1010: Kentucky's Last Great Places. (2004). Inspired by the book Kentucky’s Last Great Places by naturalist and photographer Thomas Barnes, host Dave Shuffett goes looking for pockets of unspoiled natural beauty and diversity—those places that still look much as they did when European settlers first began arriving in the state. The result is a breathtaking survey of both large-scale scenic beauty and small natural wonders. Available only as a thank you gift for donations to KET.

Program 1109: Nature on the Rocks.Program 1109: Nature on the Rocks. (2005). Carey Ruff leads a tour of the Floracliff State Nature Preserve in Fayette County, where the highlights include an abundance of wildflowers and one of the largest “petrified waterfall” formations in the eastern U.S. The preserve is a living legacy of nationally known botanist Mary Wharton.

Program 1110: Wild and Scenic Kentucky.Program 1110: Wild and Scenic Kentucky. (2005). Some people head outdoors seeking beauty and serenity, while others are looking for adventure. Kentucky offers plenty of both—often at the same time. In this edition, host Dave Shuffett and the crew hike, bike, ride, sail, paddle and cruise their way around the state, from the Breaks of the Big Sandy River to Reelfoot Lake and from the Ohio to the Big South Fork. John James Audubon State Park and Nature   Preserve is one of the featured destinations. Available only as a thank you gift for donations to KET.

Program 1120: Burn, Baby, Burn.Program 1120: Burn, Baby, Burn. (2005). KNP conducts a controlled burn to help preserve the open “barrens” habitat at Raymond Athey Barrens State Nature Preserve in Logan County.  Return visits track how the native flora and fauna recover and respond.

Program 1208: Pine Mountain.Program 1208: Pine Mountain. (2006). The rugged slopes of Pine Mountain shelter some of Kentucky’s most beautiful scenery and untouched wilderness as well as an amazing diversity of habitats and rare plants and animals. Host Dave Shuffett and his dogs, Sadie and Charlie, explore both human and natural history on Pine Mountain.

Program 1211: Jesse's Hollow.Program 1211: Jesse's Hollow. (2006). Host Dave Shuffett visits Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve, formerly the writer's own home at W-Hollow in Greenup County, and connects Stuart's poetry about spring in Kentucky with the land he helped protect. 

Program 1217: Happy 30th.Program 1217: Happy 30th. (2006). In honor of the 30th anniversary of Kentucky's State Nature Preserves System, host Dave Shuffett introduces scenes of the special places it protects and the hands-on work of commission biologists and researchers.

Program 1304: Here There Be Dragons.Program 1304: Here There Be Dragons. (2007). KNP biologist Ellis Laudermilk, local enthusiast Carl Cook and members of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas go hunting for specimens of rare dragonflies and damselflies in south central Kentucky’s Green River Watershed.

Program 1315: Kentucky Mountain HighProgram 1315: Kentucky Mountain High. (2007). Marc Evans, KNP ecologist, hunts for rare wildflowers on Black Mountain in Harlan County. The summit of Black Mountain, Kentucky’s highest point, shelters 28 different plant species found nowhere else in the state.

Program 1319: Flitter Critters.Program 1319: Flitter Critters. (2007). KNP biologist Ellis Laudermilk helps us find examples of rare and beautiful butterflies throughout the state. Our finds include the rare swamp metalmark, Baltimore checkerspot, Olympia marble and Edwards hairstreak.

Program 1408: Western Wildness.Program 1408: Western Wildness. (2008). Dave Shuffett goes canoeing and hiking at Three Ponds State Nature Preserve in Hickman County, the only Kentucky nature preserve bordering the Mississippi River.

Program 1411: The One That Almost Got Away.Program 1411: The One That Almost Got Away. (2008). KNP biologists show examples of Short’s goldenrod at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park—one of just a few known sites in the world where this extremely rare plant is found. We also visit the annual festival that celebrates the plant which is held at the park.

Program 1512: The Face of the Forest.Program 1512: The Face of the Forest. (2009). In the pristine hemlock forests of eastern Kentucky lurks a tiny but significant threat, the hemlock woolly adelgid. A network of Kentucky conservation and educational institutions is attempting to thwart the spread of this insect. Their goal is to save not only the hemlocks, but also the cool, moist forest ecosystems that depend on these tall, majestic conifers. KNP Pine Mountain Manager Kyle Napier and Kentucky Natural Lands Trusts Forest Steward Merril Flanary discuss the issue with host Dave Shuffett.

Program 1515: Biodiverity—An Intricate Web.Program 1515: Biodiverity—An Intricate Web. (2010). An introduction to biodiversity in Kentucky with experts from the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves , the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust.

Program 1515: A Volunteer by Nature. Program 1515: A Volunteer by Nature. (2010) Harold Kelley found the 181-acre woodland that is now Brigadoon State Nature Preserve while looking for places to photograph. Now he helps protect this old-growth forest as a volunteer preserve monitor.

Program 1608: Biodiverity—Darters.Program 1608: Biodiverity—Darters. (2010). Darters, the smallest member of the perch family, are able to maneuver (dart) easily at the bottom of freshwater streams and rivers. Most darters are colorful—rivaling fish you'd see in a coral reef. Dave puts on a wetsuit and snorkels in a cold mountain stream in the hopes of getting up close and personal with these fascinating fish.

Program 1614: Heritage Lands.Program 1614: Heritage Lands and Invasive Species. (2011). For this Earth Day edition of the program we travel to some of the natural places protected by the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF), including Taylor County's Tebbs Bend. Revenue for the KHLCF comes from nature license plate and other sources. More than 90,000 acres in 72 Kentucky counties have been purchased and set aside for conservation since the mid-1990s. Also join host Dave Shuffett on a tour to see some of Kentucky's most unwanted plants with KNP manager Zeb Weese. These imported species run rampant over native plants due to lack of natural controls like disease and predators found in their native habitats.

Program 1701: Biodiversity—Moths.Program 1701: Biodiversity—Moths. (2011). The moths you see fluttering in the evening sky or around a ceiling light in your home are just the tip of the Lepidoptera iceberg: there are more than 2,400 species of moths in Kentucky. We join some members of the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists on a hot August night near Coxs Creek at Bernheim Forest to see what kind of moths we can find. 

Program 1716: Migratory Sonbirds (2011). Dave Shuffet joins KNP manager Zeb Weese and Park Naturalist Brian Gasdorf at their bird-banding station at Natural Bridge State Park. Some of the warblers you'll see travel thousands of miles each year, from the park to Central America and back.

Program 1806: Blood River Seeps State Nature Preserve. Program 1806: Blood River Seeps State Nature Preserve. (2012). Within this nature preserve are four different natural community types, all of which are declining in Kentucky, and one which is globally rare. Libby Watt, KNP natural areas manager, talks to host Dave Shuffett about this unique nature preserve. 

Program 1814: Reptiles and Amphibians at Blood River Seeps. Program 1814: Reptiles and Amphibians at Blood River Seeps. (2013).  In this program, we take a look at the cold-blooded creatures making their home in these distinctive habitats with help from Herpetologist John MacGregor. 

Program 1815: Little South Fork Wild River (2013) Biologists Zeb Weese and Zack Couch take Dave Shuffett to the cliffs overlooking the Little South Fork Wild River in Wayne and McCreary Counties.

Program 2206: Good Works.Program 2206: Good Works. (2016). Volunteers Kyle Elliott and Jim Allen keep Kentucky's State Nature Preserves in fine form. This episodes features these extroidinary citizens who make time to help keep natural areas safe and in good shape.

Program #2104: Martin's Fork, (2016)  We venture into the enveloping wilderness of Martin's Fork in Harlan County with managers Zeb Weese, Kyle Napier, and Zack Couch. Martin's Fork is adjacent to the Cumberland Gap and exists in a pristine state very similar to how it was first experienced by early American settlers. Martin's Fork has a diverse ecosystem, including several plants and animals unique to the surrounding area.

Program 2216: Audubon Wetlands (2017) Visit the KHLCF's 650-acre addition to John James Audubon Wetlands, complete with wheelchair accessible boardwalk, and meet some of the local citizens who made it possible along. The tour is led by Zeb Weese, KNP Executive Director and KHLCF Chairman.

Other PBS and KET Videos

Education Matters: Blackacre State Nature Preserve (2013). Blackacre State Nature Preserve is Kentucky's oldest state nature preserve, with a focus on allowing urban children to experience the outdoors.

Bluegrass and Backroads: Bat Monitoring (2016) Follow Zack Couch, Zeb Weese, and Dr. Albert Meier in their pursuit of bats at the Western Kentucky University Upper Green River Biological Preserve, a KHLCF conservation easement. A passion for science and conservation takes these men on a search for endangered bats in the hope of gaining information that will help preserve these threatened creatures. Produced by WKU PBS.

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