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Wednesday August 17 at 9 p.m. – American Masters: John Muir in the New World

(Rochester, NY) – As part of WXXI's week-long programming initiative in support of Rochester's first Greentopia Festival, which will be held in September 2011, WXXI presents American Masters: John Muir in the New World, airing Wednesday, August 17at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). The film features the legacy of John Muir: America’s first environmentalist and founder of the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization the Sierra Club. Mountaineers portray Muir in reenactments filmed in the beautiful Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Alhambra Valley.

John Muir in the New World brings together cultural and social views of our nation’s most important natural assets, our unique eco-systems, and the threat that these eco-systems face.  Emmy-winning director, producer, and writer Catherine Tatge conveys Muir’s passion attachment to nature through reenactments of the journeys that shaped so much of American environmentalism: his 1,000-mile walk from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico, his years living in the Yosemite Valley wilderness and climbing the Sierras, his continued study of glaciers in Alaska, and his life as a farmer with his family in Martinez and the Alhambra Valley. Mountaineer Joe Butler portrays the young Muir; photographer and mountaineer Howard Weamer, a caretaker of a Yosemite Ski Hut, portrays the older Muir; and Patsy Fulhorst, a school teacher with an interest in nature and hiking, portrays Jeanne Carr.

A lover and champion of the American wilderness, Muir believed strongly that it is our responsibility as American citizens to care for our environment. Muir advocated for nature and wrote tirelessly to create awareness of the state of our natural resources. Not only was Muir a force in the preservation of the Yosemite Valley, he led the first nationwide battle of the environmental movement over the Hetch Hetchy dam, and was a prominent figure in the creation of the National Park Service. John Muir in the New World explores the influence of his Calvinist father, Daniel; the writings of Alexander von Humboldt and Ralph Waldo Emerson; his friend and mentor Jeanne Carr; his marriage to Louie Strentzel; his friendship and work for Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of The Century Magazine; to illustrate how Muir developed his ideas about nature and became a respected scientist, writer and “publicist for nature” during a critical period in U.S. history.

“It’s incredible what we owe to John Muir and, in our era of Katrina and oil spills, how very much we should revere his message today,” says Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer of American Masters, a seven-time winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series.

Rochester's Greentopia Festival is a two-day interactive fest that celebrates the green movement that is sweeping the globe, and will showcase what the region is doing – and envision a greener region of the future. The festival will be held September 17 and 18, 2011 in High Falls. For a list of all "green" programs airing on WXXI-TV/HD and AM 1370, visit: WXXI.org/gogreen.

Pictured: John Muir at Yosemite
Credit: Courtesy of Photo by Bob Roney © Global Village Media

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WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.