John Muir Documentary, Educators Activity Guide and Family Guide

SEEK Updated
Resource Types: 
Learning Kit

In 2011, the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) partnered with American Masters to bring this documentary, and two new discussion and activity guides. These FREE guides offer inspiration and tips to help you get children outside.

John Muir was a powerful force for change. He championed the joys and the healing power of time in nature. He encouraged his fellow Americans to get out of the city and journey into the wild.

American Masters "John Muir in the New World" premiered nationally on PBS Monday, April 18th, 2011. You can watch the full program online at

"John Muir in the New World" Documentary Film
A lover and champion of the American wilderness, Muir believed that it was our responsibility as citizens to protect our natural surroundings. Through his tireless advocacy and his writings, Muir helped preserve the Yosemite Valley, led the fight against the Hetch Hetchy dam - the first nationwide battle of the environmental movement - and was the force behind 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; marriage to Louie Strentzel; and 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. Film Length: 1:23:16

Educators Activity Guide
Imagine John Muir stepping into your classroom today. No doubt he'd make an inspired teacher, passionately conveying his curiosity and insights about the natural world. In this guide, we've collected a variety of quotes from John Muir's writing and proposed related activities that you can try with students of all ages. Who better to launch you and your group into new adventures and discoveries in the great outdoors? 7 pages. To download this free guide go to

Family Discussion and Activity Guide
John Muir knew from personal experience that children love nature. We've designed this guide to be a launching place for families who've seen the American Masters film "John Muir in the New World" and now want to get outside for their own nature adventures. Kids have become increasingly disconnected from nature since John Muir's time. But it's easy to change that simply by making sure our families spend more time outdoors, whether for backyard play or wilder treks. In fact, studies now suggest that time in nature helps make people healthier, happier - and even smarter! All it takes is opening the door and opening up the possibilities for discovery, wonder, play, and renewal. In this guide, you'll find inspiring quotes from Muir's writing. We've paired each of these quotes with activities you can try with your family - or, better yet, a group of families. Whether you're venturing outdoors for the first time or are a seasoned nature enthusiast, we think you'll find something in these pages to enrich your nature discoveries. 7 pages. To download this free guide go to

American Masters and the Children & Nature Network (C&NN)
Topic Areas: 
Outdoor Recreation
Target Audience: 
Citizen and Youth Groups
Geographic Location: 
All Minnesota
Outside Minnesota
Library loan: 
Is training required?: 
Contact(s) or order information.: 

Children & Nature Network