Luther to show first two films in six-part Ken Burns' documentary

'The Scripture of Nature' shown Jan. 10; 'The Last Refuge' Jan. 14

A six-part screening of Ken Burns' documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," is scheduled throughout January on the Luther College campus with the first episode, "The Scripture of Nature" at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, and the second, "The Last Refuge," at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14.

Each of the six episodes lasts approximately two hours. Participants do not need to attend every screening, but it is recommended. All viewings will be in Valders Hall of Science, Room 362. Childcare will be available in Valders Room 379 on all six dates.

The first episode focuses on the National Parks from 1851 to 1890 and California's Yosemite Valley. At the time, the country was split between those wanting to exploit the park for commercial purposes and those wanting to preserve it. John Muir took up the effort to keep the park pristine, with Congress passing an act to protect the area from commercial gain in 1864. In 1872, Congress passed an act to protect an area in the northwest Wyoming territory now known as Yellowstone, becoming the first national park.

Going from 1890 to 1915, the second episode in the series focuses on industrialization and the threat of disappearing untouched land. Because there was no clear authority for the newly-created parks, a group focused on conservation was formed, led by Muir and the Sierra Club; The Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, with Theodore Roosevelt.

Sponsored by the Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities, Winneshiek Energy District and Green Iowa AmeriCorps, all screenings are open to the public with no charge for admission.

Subsequent viewings are 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21; 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28.

"The National Parks: America's Best Idea" was produced by Ken Burns and Dayton

Duncan and highlights the United States Park system and its history. It originally aired on the Public Broadcasting System in 2009 and won two Emmys in 2010: for outstanding writing in episode two "The Last Refuge," and for outstanding non-fiction series. It took more than six years of filming to capture the scenes, including shots from Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Florida Everglades and the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: