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

"Great Nature" and "The Morning of Creation," the final two episodes of the six-part Ken Burns' documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," are 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, respectively, on the Luther College campus.

Each episode lasts approximately two hours. Participants do not need to have attended every screening. All viewings are in Valders Hall of Science, Room 362.

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.

"Great Nature," the fifth episode in the series, centers around the Great Depression and World War II from 1933 to 1945. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was tasked with major renovation projects in the park system. George Melendez Wright brought attention to animal habitat abuse and pushed the National Park Service to focus on reforming wildlife policies. Meanwhile, Congress established the Everglades in Florida as a national park, the first time a park has been recognized solely to preserve an ecosystem. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated more land in Wyoming to expand the Grand Teton National Park, causing criticism from many.

The series concludes with "The Morning of Creation," following World War II through 1980. After the war, tourism in the parks spiked, with a record 62 million people visiting per year. With the influx of visitors, facilities and infrastructure were created to handle the booming tourist industry. Meanwhile Adolph Murie suggested predatory animals should be protected and no longer hunted. Islands in Biscayne Bay in Florida were donated to the government to be protected and President Jimmy Carter set aside 56 million acres of Alaska land for preservation, the largest such expansion in history.

"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: