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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

 

Celebrating Earth Day

 

WTVP celebrates Earth Day with a slate of new and encore programs that highlight how both natural forces and manmade wonders affect climate changes and energy opportunities.

The Roscoe Wind Farm in West Texas at sunset.

Grand Coulee Dam: American Experience
Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 p.m.
Grand Coulee was more than a dam — it was a proclamation. In the wake of the Great Depression, America turned from private enterprise to public works — not simply to provide jobs, but to restore faith. The ultimate expression of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Grand Coulee played a central role in transforming the Northwest; it was the largest hydroelectric power producing facility in the world when it was completed in March 1941. After WWII, a vast irrigation project made possible by the dam helped turn the barren deserts of central Washington into rich farmland. But the dam prevented access to one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world. Deprived of the salmon — their most important resource — the native people who lived along the Columbia witnessed a profound cultural decline. Featuring the men and women who lived and worked at Grand Coulee and the native people whose lives were changed, as well as historians and engineers, this film explores how the tension between technological achievement and environmental impact hangs over the project's legacy.

 

Panama Canal: American Experience
Tuesday, April 3, 8:30-10:00 p.m.
On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world’s two largest oceans and signaling America’s emergence as a global superpower. American ingenuity and innovation had succeeded, but the U.S. paid a price for victory: more than a decade of ceaseless, grinding toil, an outlay of more than $350 million — the largest single federal expenditure in history to that time — and the loss of more than 5,000 lives. Along the way, Central America witnessed the brazen overthrow of a sovereign government, a revolutionary public health campaign, the backbreaking removal of hundreds of millions of tons of earth and construction on an unprecedented scale. The story of the canal features a cast of colorful characters ranging from an indomitable president to visionary engineers to tens of thousands of workers from around the world, rigidly segregated by race. Using an extraordinary archive of photographs and footage, some remarkable interviews with canal workers and firsthand accounts of life in the canal zone, director Stephen Ives and producer Amanda Pollak unravel the remarkable story of one of the world’s most significant technological achievements.

Yellowstone: Land to Life
Monday, April 9, 9:30-10:00 p.m.
Filmmaker John Grabowska presents a lyrical interpretation of the sweeping geologic story of Yellowstone, the world’s first and most famous national park. Formation of glaciers, mountain ranges and the gigantic caldera of a supervolcano provide the saga of this special place. Filmed over two years through all seasons, the film delves deeply into the significance behind the scenery and illuminates the intimate bonds between the landscape and biology — how Yellowstone’s geology influences where life exists and how it evolves. A short concluding film, “Yellowstone’s Cascade Corner,” features the portion of Yellowstone extending across the southwestern border of Montana into Idaho.

NOVA "Deadliest Tornadoes"
Wednesday, April 11, 8-9:00 p.m.
In April 2011, the worst tornado outbreak in decades left a trail of destruction across the U.S., killing more than 360 people. Why was there such an extreme outbreak? How do such outbreaks form? With modern warning systems, why did so many die? Is our weather getting more extreme — and if so, how bad will it get? In this NOVA special, get a look at the science behind the last year’s outbreak, meeting those affected and the scientists striving to understand the forces behind the outbreak. Could their work improve tornado prediction in the future? Learn how we all can protect ourselves and our communities in the future.

Hoover Dam: American Experience
Tuesday, April 17, 8-9:00 p.m.
Rising more than 700 feet above the raging waters of the Colorado River, it was called one of the greatest engineering works in history. The Hoover Dam, built during the Great Depression, drew men desperate for work to a remote and rugged canyon near Las Vegas. There they struggled against heat, choking dust and perilous heights to build a colossus of concrete that brought electricity and water to millions and transformed the American Southwest.

WORDGIRL “Earth Day Girl”
Friday, April 20, 3:30-4:00 p.m.
When the villainous (and very large) Birthday Girl learns that planet Earth is having a special celebration on the same day as her happy occasion, she decides to wreak environmental havoc, just to teach the Earth a lesson. Can WordGirl find a way to stop the Birthday Girl’s eco-rampage and save Earth Day?

Powering the Planet
Sunday, April 22, 9:30-10:30 p.m.
Take an eye-opening look at some of the world’s most important case studies in energy policy. In Spain and Morocco, large-scale solar farms and individual photovoltaic panels atop tents in the Sahara are beginning to bring the vast potential of the sun down to Earth. In Brazil, abundant natural resources — sun, rain and sugar cane — are transformed into efficient, sustainable biofuel, making Brazil the only nation whose cars could run normally if gasoline were to vanish. In Samsø, Denmark, and in West Texas, citizens have taken sustainability — and economic realities — into their own hands by becoming stakeholders in wind turbines. In China, a full-throttle approach to multiple sustainable energy technologies is giving rise to a “new empire of clean tech.” What about America? One energy insider predicts an “energy abyss” if smart decisions aren’t made. Learn how great nations and small communities are finding sustainable solutions that provide for people and protect the planet.

Independent Lens "Revenge of the Electric Car"
Sunday, April 22, 10:30 p.m.-Midnight
Director Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. Without using a single drop of foreign oil, this new generation of car is America’s future: fast, furious and cleaner than ever. “Revenge” follows the race among major car-makers to be the first, the best, and to win the hearts and minds of the public around the world. It’s not just the next generation of green cars that’s on the line. It’s the future of the automobile itself.

NOVA "Secrets of the Sun"
April 25, 8-9:00 p.m.
It contains 99.9 percent of all the matter in our solar system and sheds hot plasma at nearly a million miles an hour. The temperature at its core is a staggering 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. It convulses, it blazes, it sings. You know it as the sun. Scientists know it as one of the most amazing physics laboratories in the universe. Now, with the help of new spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes, scientists are seeing the sun as they never have before and even re-creating in labs what happens at the very center of the sun. Their work will helps us understand aspects of the sun that have puzzled scientists for decades. But more critically, it may help us predict and track solar storms that have the power to zap our power grid, shut down telecommunications and ground global air travel for days, weeks, even longer. Such storms have occurred before — but never in the modern era of satellite communication. "Secrets of the Sun" reveals a bright new dawn in our understanding of our nearest star — one that might help keep our planet from going dark.

 

 

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For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org

 


 

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