Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America

In partnership with
Ford Cochran, Geologist and Program Director
National Geographic Expeditions
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Course No. 1707
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Discover how glaciers form and their historical advance and retreats. Also, learn how a glacier is like a candy bar!
  • numbers Chart the geology of Appalachian Trail and journey to a continental collision that raised mountains.
  • numbers Learn the story of the Grand Canyon - a geological saga of deposition and erosion that started 1.7 billion years ago.
  • numbers Use fossilized flora and fauna to open a window on ancient ecosystems, extinct species, and the history of life on Earth.
  • numbers Learn how more than 2,000 natural arches formed in the Arches region.

Course Overview

In 1872, a wondrous region called Yellowstone was set aside as the world’s first national park, giving adventurous travelers access to a geologist’s paradise that seethes with pent-up volcanic forces. As more and more national parks were created—not just in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico—geologists were revolutionizing their field, piecing together a detailed understanding of how the world works. National parks have made these magnificent reminders of the awe-inspiring power of our planet accessible to everyone. Today, there is no better education in the remarkable forces that formed our world than a tour of the national parks of North America. These parks capture a special place in our hearts and draw millions of tourists each year.

From Yellowstone’s bubbling, steaming landscape to the great slabs of granite along Acadia’s shores, each park contributes its own chapter to the story of Earth. Most visitors get only a superficial view of these sites, guided by the informational signposts or tour books, but there is so much more to be discovered. Our national parks offer profound lessons for anyone who loves history, geology, and nature. This course provides in-depth insights, intriguing perspectives, and riveting little-known facts about these treasured places that you won’t find simply by driving through them. And the next time you do drive or hike through a national park, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the forces—geological, historical, and otherwise—that shaped it.

You will learn how our majestic parks provide dramatic evidence of geological processes such as:

  • Colliding continents: From Maine’s Acadia National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, the rolling Appalachians are the eroded remnants of once-mighty peaks formed in the collision of ancient continents.
  • Glaciation: The magnificent valley that welcomes visitors to Yosemite National Park is the work of vanished glaciers that were nearly a mile thick. Glaciers sculpted this region and much of North America in a succession of pulses during Earth’s latest ice age.
  • Uplift and erosion: Imagine a board lifting into a buzz saw. A similar phenomenon produced the Grand Canyon and other breathtaking chasms in the American West, as the Colorado Plateau rose and fast-flowing rivers sliced through the land.
  • Volcanic Hotspots: Deep beneath Yellowstone National Park is a huge magma chamber that erupted as a supervolcano 640,000 years ago and will explode again. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hides a tamer, fiery hotspot.

Formed just 16 years after Yellowstone was dedicated as a park, the National Geographic Society has led the way in securing protection for America’s most important natural wonders. With a connection to the national parks that stretches back all the way to the 1800s, the National Geographic Society has maintained an abiding interest in their creation and preservation, sponsoring scientific and exploratory expeditions; featuring the parks in scores of magazine articles, books, and films; and working to raise awareness and support for national parks at home and abroad. Apart from the National Park Service itself, no other organization has compiled as impressive an archive of maps and images, assembled as knowledgeable a staff, or been as committed to educating the public on the subject of these national treasures.

We are proud to join forces with this extraordinary institution to present Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America, a fascinating introduction to geology that forged North America’s national parks. Beautifully illustrated, these 36 half-hour lectures take you to more than a hundred spectacular sites guided by geologist and former college professor Ford Cochran, who is currently the Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. He is a storyteller and an explorer at heart who specializes in interpreting landscapes for a variety of audiences.

No previous background in geology or science is needed to experience the thrill that these lectures offer, just a sense of curiosity as you unravel the mysteries of some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet.

Learn about Every National Park…and More

The scope of this course is truly astonishing. Professor Cochran covers every national park in the United States, together with exceptional state parks, national monuments, historical parks, marine sanctuaries, and other preserves, plus a number of outstanding parks in Canada, Mexico, and beyond. Anyone planning a trip to one or more of these sites, whether a weekend outing or a transcontinental expedition, will find their experiences immeasurably enriched by Professor Cochran’s insightful and entertaining presentation. And just staying at home watching the series is an adventure itself!

As a special bonus, three of National Geographic’s top experts appear in interview segments following many of the lectures. Photojournalist Chris Johns was the first journalist onto Mount Saint Helens after it erupted in 1980, and he recently stepped up from Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic magazine to oversee all editorial content creation at National Geographic. Biologist and wildlife documentary producer John Francis is currently National Geographic’s Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration. And Kaitlin Yarnall is one of the gifted cartographers behind National Geographic’s famous maps, now serving as Executive Editor for Cartography, Art, and Graphics at National Geographic magazine as well as Director of Cartography for the Society. These three creative professionals add their fascinating perspectives to Wonders of the National Parks, rounding out the experience to provide truly enriching lessons.

The Greatest Spectacle on Earth

Many visitors to national parks never go beyond the most accessible sites, but this course shows how to experience the breathtaking diversity of these places in depth. You learn how each park fits into the geological epic of North America—a story of mountain ranges created by the collision of tectonic plates, of oceans rising and drowning the lowlands, of volcanoes raining ash and liquid fire, of glaciers growing to towering heights and scouring the terrain down to the bedrock, of desert sands burying entire regions, of earthquakes transforming the land in an instant, and of the tenacious, erosive power of flowing water. If it sounds like the greatest spectacle on Earth, it is!

Drawing on his wide experience as a field geologist and National Geographic expedition lecturer, Professor Cochran has plenty of recommendations for must-see attractions and activities. Here are just a few:

  • Driving: A National Geographic staffer once told Professor Cochran that Canada’s Icefields Parkway was “the most spectacular drive anywhere.” He took the trip and discovered why. The largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains, it stretches from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park along the Continental Divide.
  • Hiking: Among the many hikes suggested by Professor Cochran, he especially loves the West Rim Trail at Zion National Park. The awe-inspiring views of the sandstone canyons carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River are well worth the walk.
  • For the more adventurous:
  • Canoeing and kayaking: A tranquil river trip takes you through the dramatic badlands of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, retracing a portion of Lewis and Clark’s epic voyage.
  • Rock climbing: One of the oldest rivers on the continent, paradoxically called the New River, has worn a gorge into a uniquely hard form of sandstone that is a nearly perfect rock for climbers, who flock to New River Gorge National River to test their skills.

Remind Yourself: “This Is Real!”

In addition to geology, Wonders of the National Parks also touches on botany, zoology, atmospheric science, and other disciplines as they relate to specific protected areas. The course also explores the role that humans have played in these distinctive landscapes. For example:

  • Gettysburg: Gettysburg National Military Park provides a geology lesson wrapped up in a history lesson. Little Round Top, Cemetery Ridge, and other key sites in the three-day battle owe their existence to the rifting that opened the Atlantic when the supercontinent Pangaea split apart.
  • Gold rush: Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve includes gold formations mined during Alaska’s great gold rush. Just as in California’s gold fields, seafloor subduction and other tectonic forces created the right conditions to concentrate the glittering element in rocks near the surface.
  • John Wesley Powell: One of the founders of the National Geographic Society was John Wesley Powell, who led the first expeditions through the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau, including the Grand Canyon. His vivid reports brought these future parklands to public attention.
  • Ansel Adams: The world’s most revered nature photographer did his most famous work in the parks of the American West. Professor Cochran takes Adams’s classic view of Yosemite Valley and reads it like a book, pointing out the riveting geological story it tells.

With a career at National Geographic spanning more than 20 years, plus his professional training in geology, Professor Cochran is the ideal lecturer for this course: a deeply knowledgeable scientist, an experienced and enthusiastic traveler, and a consummate storyteller who lives and breathes the Society’s mission to “inspire, illuminate, teach.”

You may even be able to detect Professor Cochran’s background in English literature, which he pursued as an undergraduate before falling in love with geology. He often peppers his lessons with quotes and stories, adding an additional dimension of elucidation. For example, in his lectures on Yosemite, he quotes the great author and naturalist John Muir, whose eloquence helped preserve Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the 1890s. Professor Cochran has a similar way with words, describing one of the Yosemite hikes as follows: “The soaring scale and beauty of the granite landscape from this portion of the John Muir Trail are so extraordinary that, though you’re there and seeing it—actually seeing it—you still have to remind yourself: This is real!”

Hide Full Description
36 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Yellowstone: Microcosm of the National Parks
    Start your tour of the geological wonders of North America's national parks with Yellowstone, where the breathtaking landscape inspired the idea of a national park. Focus on the processes that produce Yellowstone's many geothermal formations, particularly its geysers. x
  • 2
    Yellowstone's Cataclysmic Origins and Future
    Read the evidence in the rocks to discover Yellowstone's bigger story: the massive volcanic eruptions that created the region and will one day destroy it, the glaciers that shaped the terrain, and the meltwater floods that carved the impressive Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. x
  • 3
    Grand Teton and Jackson Hole
    At Grand Teton National Park south of Yellowstone, an active fault lifts some of North America's oldest rocks to the summits of some of the continent's youngest mountains. Explore these glacier-sculpted peaks, and learn the origin of the broad valley, called Jackson Hole, at the base of the Teton Range. x
  • 4
    Hawaii Volcanoes: Earth's Largest Mountains
    Compare the lessons of hotspot volcanism at Yellowstone with the very different landscape at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is also stoked by upwelling magma from Earth's mantle. Professor Cochran describes rivers of fire on the Big Island of Hawaii and suggests distinctive lava formations to visit. x
  • 5
    The Hawaiian Islands and Maui's Haleakala
    How does a barren volcanic landscape become a tropical paradise? Study the speed with which volcanic islands erode, leaving rich soil behind. Watch these processes at work on the Big Island of Hawaii, at Haleakala National Park on Maui, and also in the National Park of American Samoa. x
  • 6
    Mount Saint Helens, Lassen Volcanic, Rainier
    Tour Mount Rainier National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Pacific Northwest, which are part of the Cascade Range of active volcanoes that include Mount Saint Helens. Then visit a group of similarly cataclysmic volcanoes in national parks in central Mexico. x
  • 7
    Crater Lake, Olympic, North Cascades
    Learn how seafloor subduction raised a lofty volcano only to obliterate it in a colossal eruption that created Crater Lake in Oregon. Hundreds of miles to the north, tectonic forces upended the imposing mountains of Olympic National Park and formed the high jagged peaks at North Cascades National Park. x
  • 8
    Volcanoes of Alaska: Katmai and Lake Clark
    Travel to Alaska to explore the vast national parks at Katmai and Lake Clark. Katmai was the site of the 20th century's largest volcanic eruption, while Lake Clark is unusual among national parks for having no roads and being accessible only by boat or small plane. x
  • 9
    Alaska's Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords
    Continue your tour of the largest state with stops at two spectacular parks that are popular destinations for cruise ships: Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords. Discover how glaciers form and examine their historical advance and retreat in this region. Also, learn how a glacier is like a candy bar! x
  • 10
    Yosemite: Nature's Cathedral
    Survey the most beautiful valley on Earth: Yosemite. Even for those who have not yet visited, its views are iconic thanks to stunning photos by Ansel Adams and others. Investigate the geological history of the park, focusing on its most distinctive rock type - granite. x
  • 11
    Redwoods, Sequoias, and the Sierra Nevada
    Dig deeper into the geology of Yosemite, charting the role of glaciers in shaping the terrain. Also, learn the origin of California's famous gold deposits. Then study the special conditions that promote the growth of giant sequoias, and visit the national parks that preserve these towering trees for posterity. x
  • 12
    Pinnacles to Joshua Tree: The San Andreas
    Trace the earth-shaking San Andreas fault through a series of national parks and recreation areas - from Point Reyes, Golden Gate, and Pinnacles in the north to the Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands, Joshua Tree, and Mexico's Sierra de San Pedro Martir in the south. x
  • 13
    Denali to Gates of the Arctic
    The story of the tectonic train wreck that built Alaska is written all over the three largest national parks in the U.S.: Wrangell-St. Elias, Gates of the Arctic, and Denali. These remote preserves encompass America's tallest mountains, all built by subduction zone processes. x
  • 14
    Death Valley and Great Basin: The Rift Zone
    Continental rifting has caused huge blocks of land to sink between high mountain belts, producing Death Valley, the lowest, hottest, driest place in North America. Explore this and other national parks and monuments in the Great Basin region. x
  • 15
    Shenandoah: The Collision of Old Continents
    A hike along the Appalachian Trail is a journey back in time to a continental collision that raised mountains rivalling the Himalayas - now eroded into the Appalachians. Chart the geology of this ancient chain from Shenandoah National Park to Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. x
  • 16
    Great Smoky Mountains and Hot Springs
    Survey some of the attractions that make the Great Smoky Mountains America's most visited national park. Investigate a related geological structure in the famous Hot Springs National Park, discovering why there are hot springs so far from volcanic activity. x
  • 17
    National Rivers: Gorges, Falls, and Meanders
    Rivers are an important clue to the geology of a region and also offer superb possibilities for recreation. Journey to some of America's national rivers, wild and scenic rivers, water trails, and other river parks, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks, the New River Gorge, and Niagara Falls. x
  • 18
    Great Dune Fields of North America
    Sand dunes aren't usually pictured in a setting of alpine peaks, but that's precisely the scene at Great Sand Dunes National Park in the Colorado Rockies. Study the conditions that create sprawling dune fields here as well as in Kobuk Valley, White Sands, Death Valley, and Nebraska's Sand Hills. x
  • 19
    National Seashores and Lakeshores
    Get your feet wet at America's coastal national parks, where dunes, salt marshes, ponds, and lagoons characterize shorelines. Investigate the myriad dynamic processes at Cape Hatteras, Cape Cod, and Assateague National Seashores, and at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Indiana Dunes, Pictured Rocks, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshores. x
  • 20
    Reefs: Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas
    Turn to a trio of national parks where corals and other reef creatures are helping create new carbonate rock. Then encounter a massive reef from our planet's past, raised to towering heights at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. x
  • 21
    National Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments
    Continue your underwater adventures by touring America's national marine sanctuaries and monuments, spread over more than a dozen locations up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, plus the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, Hawaii, and beyond. x
  • 22
    Acadia's Highlands and Islands
    The rocks of coastal Maine reveal a gripping legacy of lost oceans, colliding continents, epic mountains, furious volcanoes, and massive glaciers. Acadia National Park records evidence of all this, etched into its granite summits and boulder-strewn shores. x
  • 23
    The Dakota Badlands
    Visit Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands, and Mount Rushmore National Parks in the Dakotas, beholding the landscape that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to become an ardent conservationist. Learn how the fantastic forms of the badlands are the product of deposition, uplift, and erosion. x
  • 24
    The Grand Canyon's 2-Billion-Year Staircase
    Descend into the Grand Canyon, recording the full sequence of strata from top to bottom - a story that takes you from 270-million-year-old limestone formed in a shallow sea to basement rocks that record a mountain-building saga from 1.7 billion years ago. x
  • 25
    Carving the Grand Canyon
    What did it take to carve the Grand Canyon? Explore theories on how this remarkable chasm came to be. Then take a boat trip through the park, from the Colorado River's access point at Lee's Ferry, down fearsome rapids and into a majestic wonderland. Also, study how humans have changed the river. x
  • 26
    Petrified Forest and Other Fossil Parks
    See Petrified Forest National Park, a colorful landscape littered with fossil trees that shaded Earth's earliest dinosaurs. Here and in other parks in the U.S. and Canada, fossilized flora and fauna open a window on ancient ecosystems, extinct species, and the history of life on Earth. x
  • 27
    Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches
    Nowhere is nature's artistry more exquisite than in the intricately eroded parks of the Colorado Plateau - from Bryce Canyon, to Arches National Park, to Canyonlands National Park. Seek answers to these strange, sculpted landforms, asking questions such as: How did more than 2,000 natural arches form in the Arches region? x
  • 28
    Zion, Gunnison's Black Canyon, Capitol Reef
    Witness other wonders of canyon erosion on the Colorado Plateau, including the deep and narrow Black Canyon of the Gunnison, as well as The Narrows, a dramatic slot canyon in Zion National Park. x
  • 29
    Mesa Verde and Ancient Settlements
    Explore parks where geology supported the settlement of people in North America. Begin at the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, cleverly engineered to exploit natural shelter and rock seeps. Then survey other cliff dwellings and pueblos in the Southwest. x
  • 30
    The Colorado Rocky Mountains
    Ascend the heights of the Rocky Mountains, asking how tectonic processes nearly a thousand miles away could possibly have raised this extensive range. Venture to Rocky Mountain National Park, Red Rocks, the Garden of the Gods, the Maroon Bells, and the Canadian Rockies. x
  • 31
    Montana's Glacier and the Canadian Rockies
    Journey to Glacier National Park, where the glaciers may be disappearing, but the impressive glacier-sculpted terrain remains. x
  • 32
    Big Bend on the Rio Grande and Saguaro
    Investigate the multitude of geological processes on view at Big Bend National Park in Texas. Here you find signs of continental collisions, volcanic eruptions, dramatic erosion, and other breathtaking events. Then survey another geologist's paradise - Saguaro National Park. x
  • 33
    Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, Carlsbad Caverns
    Visit underground parks, exploring a tiny portion of the hundreds of miles of mapped passages in Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks. Consider the similarities and differences between these caves - two carved by mildly acidic rainwater, the other by dilute sulfuric acid! x
  • 34
    The Everglades and the Congaree Bottomland
    Florida is a limestone-dominated piece of proto-Africa that got stuck to North America. Also study similar terrain at Congaree National Park and Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. x
  • 35
    Voyageurs, Isle Royale, the Canadian Shield
    Explore the ancient heart of North America - the Canadian Shield - heading north from Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota to Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest, most northerly national park in the world. En route, stop off at parks on Isle Royale, Baffin Island, and Ellesmere Island. x
  • 36
    Assembling North America, Park by Park
    Conclude by surveying national parks not yet visited in the course, traversing North America on a grand expedition. Along the way, assess the geology of this spectacularly diverse continent. From the Appalachians to the Aleutians, the national parks and other protected lands tell a dramatic and unforgettable story. x

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What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 36 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 386-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 386-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • List of parks

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Your professor

Ford Cochran

About Your Professor

Ford Cochran, Geologist and Program Director
National Geographic Expeditions
Geologist, journalist, and educator Ford Cochran (1962–2019) was Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. He selected and managed the expert scholars, writers, photographers, explorers, and staff sent by the National Geographic Society on expeditions for travelers to destinations around the world. Mr. Cochran studied English literature as an undergraduate at the College of William & Mary, where...
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Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 265.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from might try it, haven't seen it I got this in error, having ordered one that says "Geological Wonders" on the thumbnail. It was a gift, and the recipient was able to exchange the electronic version for the intended one (lectures on sites around the world) with assistance by phone.
Date published: 2020-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This course rocks! I've finished disk 1 and am halfway thru disk 2. This is an excellent geology course (makes me wish I had paid more attention in my college survey course!). Ford Cochran is extremely knowledgeable; both his lectures and the accompanying book are very approachable.
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rich history We have watched 4 out of the 36 videos. We have learned so much about each park that we never knew. The narrator is doing a great job. He speaks clearly & uses great illustrations. The only thing I was disappointed in so far; is I would have liked to seen more pictures of the actual parks.
Date published: 2020-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great explanations As a Geology teacher of many years ago I found the information presented both clear and interesting with photos and diagrams. My only negative comment actually applies to all my Great Courses is the voice synchronization with lip movement is normally not good.
Date published: 2020-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Closed Caption on this course is terrible! The course content and instructor presentation is wonderful as it is on all Great Course DVDs I have bought. This is my first with closed captioning and will be this last I buy for the cc feature. The cc was split into three "paragraphs" , one repeating itself, one lagging behind the narration and one which did fair job of staying up with instructor. All were in a small font which made it hard to read I have a profound hearing loss, which makes cc a necessity for me. However, I also buy the transcripts with my courses, so I will make do with them. Great Courses need to bring this feature up to same level of excellence they require for the instructors and content of their courses.
Date published: 2020-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Veriy interesting I listen to this as I go to sleep and then watch the pictures the next day. Gives an excellent description and explanation of the Parks geology.
Date published: 2020-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding presentation of North American geology This is the best Great Courses course I've seen, out of a half-dozen or more. It's an outstanding presentation of North American (Canada, US, Mexico) as exemplified in National Parks, and occasionally other public lands, as necessary to make the point. Even when the lecturer is talking about a particular park, he will refer to similar phenomena in other parks covered in other presentations. I've been to many of the parks covered, and wish I had seen the presentation before going to the park.
Date published: 2020-06-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from This got so technical and I hate to say boring that I have up watching it after four or five sessions.
Date published: 2020-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! I loved this course. I don't understand the reviewers who complained about the geology lessons; the title is GEOLOGY of the National Parks, not a visit to the National Parks. This was exactly what I was looking for. I have an interest in geology after taking a field course for personal enrichment. I can't wait to actually visit the parks and see what I have learned about. After watching every episode I wanted to jump in the car and start traveling. I also found the presenter very pleasant and informative and really enjoyed his style. I was sorry to learn that he had recently passed away.
Date published: 2020-04-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed in the DVD We bought the DVD version of this course expecting to watch fabulous photography of the National Parks along with the discussions of the geology that formed them. The discussions are fine, but the visual presentation is not High Definition. The visual quality is mediocre at best, much like we used to have in the 1990s. If there was ever a time to have a High Definition presentation, it is for the National Parks.
Date published: 2020-04-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Geology of national parks I thought the course would have more pictures and sights of the national park instead of long lectures.
Date published: 2020-04-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Expected something different I expected this course to focus more intimately on what it is or would be like to actually visit the nation's National Parks. Instead, the course deals with the details of geological features. Because of that, the course is repetitious, returning again and again to abstractions and illustrations that are ultimtely tedious.
Date published: 2020-04-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very Disappointed I bought this course a week ago thinking it would be a great way to check out parks we are seeking to visit in our retirement. I expected eye popping photography the National Geographic is so famous for. What this is an in depth lecture on geology photographed in a studio. Judging from the title I guess that's what it is supposed to be. I would caution people not to buy this course unless they REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like geology.
Date published: 2020-03-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much lecture, not enough imagery For the topic being covered, way too much 'talking head' time compared to 'seeing what you are referring to' time. Your cinematographers & directors for these highly visual topics should take a look at Ross Whitaker's work in the film 'Between Land and Sea' (just an example of great cinematography and dialogue, not a promotion). When watching a course on the 'Wonders of the National Parks' I should be visually stunned.
Date published: 2020-02-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Learn so much about geology and the national parks The title really does tell what the series is about. Using lectures, photos, cartoon animation the series explores the topic. I have learned sooo much, even for the National Parks that I have already visited in person. The 30 minute per part organization makes it easier to sit down and watch one part without having to worry about too much time.
Date published: 2020-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning has never been so entertaining Our love of the national parks has been greatly enhanced by this in-depth discussion of how they were formed and continue to evolve.
Date published: 2020-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative Wonderful course . Contained a lot of information that I did not know about
Date published: 2020-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great explanations and diagrams! I find this course very interesting and informative to increase my knowledge and understanding of parks I have been to, and those I want to get to. The textbook and video and great compliments to each other, while giving the same information they reinforce the details, and the pictures are very helpful.
Date published: 2020-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Name say it. I purchased this Wonders of National Parks a few weeks ago, and several other self-teach courses as well. In a phrase, the name says it all--these are truly great courses. And affordable too. The National Parks course is veritable treasure of awesome photography, facts, figures, illustrative explanations, and so well narrated, it was just a joy to sit back and watch the entire course. Actually, I was not sitting, but glued to the monitor with eyes and ears wide open. Thank you for the opportunity to learn of and learn from these Great Courses.
Date published: 2020-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent study product I'm very glad I happened to stumble on a discarded information booklet.
Date published: 2020-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully done; excellent We started streaming this course before the DVDs arrived and that was very nice. Now my husband is watching the DVDs and is extremely happy with the pictorials and the informative nature of the course. He is always updating me on what part of the country and what park he is currently experiencing with National Geographic's Geologist Ford Cochran. Excellent course!
Date published: 2020-02-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok I purchased this course to see how this process worked. It works fine. This course is more technical than I would have liked. I was hoping for more history of the parks.
Date published: 2020-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lot's to learn My first course and still exploring it. It is not exactly what i wanted but that is more on me. I was hoping for more of a travel video. But the course biography was very accurate. If your interests are more scientific relating to geography i would recommend this course.
Date published: 2020-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from National Parks is all you need I have been to just about every single park. This was a way of visiting again with out the tourist hassle.
Date published: 2020-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learn before you go We plan on going to some National Parks this summer that we haven't been to yet, so this has provided good background material. We learned new things about parks we've been to before also. Our only complaint was it did not stream well on the TV. It does fine on the desktop computer. It's probably our issue, not the courses.
Date published: 2020-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonders of the National Parks Enjoyed revisiting the National Parks through these classes. The geology of the parks gives a different perspective. Enjoyed learning more about each park.
Date published: 2020-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great visual information. Good geological information and history. The individual courses allow you to select areas of current intrest, while they also can be viewed as a complete series. However it should be made more clear that this is a deep geological disscussion of the National Parks, and not a focused first time visitor's guide. We were under the belief that at least a portion of the courses would involve explaining where to visit, best times to visit, what to be prepared for, etc. Possibly the "Geology" portion of the title should be more prominent.
Date published: 2020-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy to follow The presenter is easy to follow; he moves at a good pace, and speaks clearly. I am glad that he adds some side stories. Otherwise, one could just read the accompanying book. The pictures and videos on the DVD are, however, wonderful!
Date published: 2020-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great informative programs We purchased several of the programs to watch while we are travelling. I downloaded them onto external drives hixh works very well. We can watch them as our schedule allows and we don't have to have internet access. The accompanying printed information is really helpful also.
Date published: 2020-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What’s not to love about our National Parks I spent a few years working in and giving tours of Zion National Park it is one of the most versatile parks in America! This is a great course because you learn about the features of all the National parks! Great to hear about all the things that make the parks so unique!
Date published: 2020-01-30
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