Explore the past, present, and future of San Francisco Bay with Saving the Bay | News

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Explore the past, present, and future of San Francisco Bay with Saving the Bay

Four-hour documentary series narrated by Robert Redford and co-sponsored by MTC
Thursday, September 3, 2009

From the Gold Rush to the Golden Gate Bridge, and through World’s Fairs and World Wars, San Francisco Bay has been central to the identity of one of the world’s leading economic, academic, recreational and cultural regions. KQED announces an unprecedented look at the storied history of San Francisco Bay withSaving the Bay (www.kqed.org/savingthebay), four one-hour episodes tracing the Bay from its geologic origins following the last Ice Age, through years of catastrophic exploitation, to the restoration efforts of today. Narrated by famed actor and environmentalist Robert Redford, Saving the Bay premieres Thursdays, October 8 and 15, from 8 to 10 pm on KQED 9HD. MTC and its Bay Area Toll Authority are series sponsors.

Saving the Bay is the first television program to tell the story of the San Francisco Bay and the people who have shaped and reshaped it; from native inhabitants to those who now seek to restore balance to a fabled estuary in the midst of one of the nation’s largest and most vibrant urban centers. The series introduces the people behind the Bay – the dreamers and schemers, polluters and preservationists, sailors and soldiers, tugboat captains and captains of industry. These people all had a hand in making San Francisco Bay what it is today: at once a workplace, playground, commute route, and valued vista.

Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors, San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of both North and South America. It is also the most invaded aquatic ecosystem in North America. Saving the Bay details how the Bay was almost lost to landfill schemes ranging from the daring to the deranged, and celebrates the more recent restoration and expansion of this once threatened treasure.

Without the activism of the grassroots Save the Bay organization and the efforts of the budding environmentalist movement, the damage to the Bay and the Bay Area would have been enormous. Without San Francisco Bay, the climate would change, beloved views would be drastically altered, the economy would be different, and the ecosystem would be irreparably damaged. Saving the Bay offers an inspirational history of how the efforts of a few forward-thinking individuals helped to save the centerpiece of an area home to millions. For more background, go to www.savingthebay.net/

The four one-hour episodes of Saving the Bay are:

  • Marvel of Nature (Prehistory - 1848) 
    In the first episode, photo-realistic animation illustrates the formation of the Bay following the last Ice Age. This hour introduces the first inhabitants along the Bay’s shoresincluding Native Peoples along with flora and fauna, and continues through European exploration and settlement, including Spanish, Russian and, ultimately, American influences that dramatically altered the region.
  • Harbor of Harbors (1849 - 1906) 
    The second hour follows San Francisco’s “rapid monstrous maturity” into a major metropolis following the California Gold Rush. Establishing the infrastructure to support the instant city meant radical change for San Francisco Bay. By the century’s end, San Francisco Bay was the center of a broad economic empire on the Pacific.
  • Miracle Workers (1906 - 1959) 
    The third hour of the series begins with The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, which accelerated the dispersion of people and industry to the East Bay region. Advances in engineering gave rise to the first of California’s massive water redistribution projects, paralleling the era of great bridge building. World War II saw the Bay transformed into the greatest shipbuilding center the world had ever known.
  • Bay in the Balance (1960 - Present) 
    In the final episode, the very survival of the Bay is threatened by the postwar boom. Viewers are introduced to the leaders of the Save the Bay campaign of the 1960s and the birth of the national mass environmental movement. As the Bay Area looks to the future, the issue becomes how best to balance the competing demands of a major urban center set amidst an environmentally significant landscape.

KQED Education Network will prepare extensive learning materials for classroom use of Saving the Bay . The education efforts focus on creating resources for San Francisco Bay Area informal and community-based education organizations who wish to use the series as part of their work with teachers and students from schools and youth organizations, and in public programs. Twenty segments from Saving the Bay will be selected that are of particular relevance to KQED education partners and correlate with state content standards. These film clips, along with viewing guides and other supporting materials, will be available for free online. Workshops and trainings will be held for education partners and other informal education organizations in order to support the use of these new resources in their programs and in their work with local school groups. Additionally, a Saving the Bay map will be produced with the locations and contact information of Bay Area organizations that provide educational and outreach opportunities regarding the San Francisco Bay.

Saving the Bay is a co-production of Ron Blatman and KQED/KTEH Public Television. Production funding was provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority, the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation, the Ambassador Bill and Jean Lane Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Columbia Foundation, the Melvin B. and Jean F. Lane Fund, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Association of Bay Area Governments – Bay Trail Project, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and ESA – Environmental Science Associates.

KQED thanks our local broadcast underwriters, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Blach Construction and Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District/Port of San Francisco.

About KQED Public Television

KQED Public Television (www.kqed.org), a service of Northern California Public Broadcasting, Inc. (NCPB), is the nation's most-watched public television station. KQED produces local weekly series in high definition, available on Comcast On Demand, including: QUEST; Spark; Check, Please! Bay Area and This Week in Northern California; and national series: Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way and Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. KQED's digital television channels include 9HD, Life, World, Kids, and V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. Download programs for viewing and video podcasts at www.kqed.org, featuring unique content on one of the most-visited station sites in public broadcasting.

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