AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON: Season 2
Premieres Wednesdays, Sept. 6 - Oct. 11, 2023 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS App + Encores Sundays, Sept. 10 - Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2
AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON returns for a second season on Wednesdays, Sept. 6 - Oct. 11, 2023. Hosted by New York Times bestselling author (“How to Be Black”), podcaster (How to Citizen with Baratunde), and outdoor enthusiast, Baratunde Thurston, the six-part series follows him on an adventure-filled journey across the U.S. to discover how nature shapes the way Americans work, play and interact with the outdoors.
This season will highlight even more regions and environments, finding unique expressions of our outdoor culture in Utah, Maine, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon and the Suwanee River in Georgia and Florida.
“I love getting to experience this country through the lives of people deeply connected to nature,” said Baratunde Thurston, host and executive producer of AMERICA OUTDOORS. “I’ve witnessed healing, transformation, and plain old fun. This second season has more America and more outdoors!”
New this season, episodes will dig into the growing evidence that links people’s overall health and wellness with being outside and will also explore new ways of making the outdoors accessible to everyone. The series will also continue to showcase how Americans seek out the outdoors in the most unlikely of places, even as our changing climate grows more extreme.
The series will also take viewers along for some unique experiences of the outdoors, including back country aviation in the Ozarks, hands-on study of endangered snapping turtles in the Suwannee River, and a Baptist service in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp. Viewers will follow Baratunde as he speeds across a historic mountain biking trail in Arkansas and meets an Iraq War vet who has treated his PTSD by immersing himself in nature—and is helping other veterans in the same way. Baratunde will also paraglide above the Great Salt Lake to document its vanishing act and join coastal Mainers as they farm oysters and harvest ice the old-fashioned way.
Episode 1: “Suwannee: Wild River” premieres Wednesday, September 6 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV - The Suwannee is one of the last wild rivers in America, and its watershed creates woods and wetlands, marshes, and cave systems. From its headwaters in the Okefenokee Swamp, Baratunde journeys downstream, meeting colorful denizens of the Suwannee. From jet skiers to herpetologists, manatees to snapping turtles, he learns how this unique environment inspires a whole range of passions.
Episode 2: "Arkansas: Hidden Gems” premieres Wednesday, September 13 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV - In Arkansas, just about everyone you meet is into the outdoors, yet to many outside the state it barely registers as an outdoor destination. Now, it’s on a mission to earn recognition as a wild mecca. Baratunde heads south to find out why this hidden gem has stayed hidden for so long, and how its outdoor culture is changing.
Episode 3: “New Mexico: Timeless” premieres Wednesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV - New Mexico was first inhabited by Ancient Puebloans millennia ago, and some of the most stunning ruins on the continent can be found here. From turkey hunting to river rafting on the Rio Grande and ancient pueblos built in alignment with the stars, Baratunde explores how the area’s deep history still shapes the outdoor culture, even as people there are reimagining their outdoor lives.
Episode 4: “Oregon: New Heights” premieres Wednesday, September 27 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV - Oregon is known for its wild coastline and misty forests, but it’s a place where a few hours in your car can take you from the coast to the high desert or the Cascade mountains. Embracing this incredible variety, Baratunde embraces forest bathing, goes spearfishing to discover underwater kelp forests, rides along with cowboys on the cutting edge of sustainable ranching and rollerblades through Portland.
Episode 5: "Utah: Choose Your Path” premieres Wednesday, October 4 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV - From the nomadic Diné tribes who have been here since time immemorial to the Mormons who made their religious pilgrimage in 1847, the expansive beauty of Utah has been a magnet for centuries. So what draws modern pilgrims? Baratunde journeys west to find out what they’re seeking, and how are they shaping the outdoor culture today.
Episode 6: "Maine: Embrace the Cold” premieres Wednesday, October 11 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV - With its magnificent coastline and densely wooded interior, Maine is a place where outdoor adventure has a long history, and a love of wilderness starts in childhood. Baratunde meets a Mainer reviving the timeless craft of harvesting ice, straps on snowshoes to understand how being outside can help folks recovering from addiction and takes an icy plunge in the winter ocean to embrace the cold.
Watch On Your Schedule:
The broadcast series and its companion web series, titled AMERICA OUTDOORS: UNDERSTORY, will be available to stream on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS app, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.
Episodes from Season 1 are available to stream with KPBS Passport! Contribute a tax-deductible* gift of $5 per month or an annual gift of $60 or more. Your donation will help KPBS serve your community through media that educates, inspires, and entertains.
Produced by Twin Cities PBS and Part2 Pictures for PBS. Michael Rosenfeld, David Shadrack Smith and Baratunde Thurston serve as executive producers. Fay Yu is Head of Current for Part2 Pictures. David Casey is the series showrunner and Bill Gardner is Executive in Charge for PBS. Funding was provided, in part, by Anne Ray Foundation; Richard King Mellon Foundation; John and Ruth Huss; Susan and Thomas McCarthy; and Linda Willette and Jan Willette.