Michael Forsberg’s Great Plains on PBS this Fall

When we think of wildlife shows on TV, we usually expect to see places like the African savannah, the Rocky Mountains, or the Arctic. We don’t expect to see Oklahoma, Kansas or North Dakota.

But award-winning conservation photographer Michael Forsberg is out to change that. A Nebraska native, Forsberg’s documentary “Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild” follows him to all corners of the region as he photographs its wildlife and talks with the ranchers, biologists, and advocates who are trying to save the region’s remaining natural landscapes.

I fell in love with grasslands while hunting in North Dakota, so I am delighted that this fall, PBS stations around the country will be able to air Great Plains.

Wherever you live or wherever you grew up, Great Plains is a great introduction to some of the lesser-known wildlife in a lesser-known landscape. America’s own grasslands are usually overlooked, or even scorned, for their supposed lack of beauty and wildlife. In addition to the region’s iconic bison, elk and pronghorn antelope, Forsberg has beautiful footage of pintail ducks, grebes, and even the common but surprisingly beautiful sunfish swimming in a crystal-clear Kansas stream.

Photo courtesy Tom Koerner, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo courtesy of Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Forsberg certainly mentions environmental threats faced by the region, but Great Plains doesn’t focus on them, nor does it get into the policy solutions that we focus on here at NWF. Instead, Great Plains aims for the heart—and I think it is on target.

I had the pleasure of meeting Forsberg in August, when he was a keynote speaker at our America’s Grasslands Conference in Kansas. His speech and photography was moving, and had us in the audience on our feet. He is a kind and gentle soul on a very important mission.

After watching Great Plains, you might not give your TV a standing ovation, but you will have had a great tour around one of the world’s great ecosystems, and seen some of its beautiful inhabitants.

PBS has a preview of Great Plains available here. Check your local listings for when your PBS affiliate might show it.