Patrick McMillan stands in a grass field alongside a river. | From "Expeditions with Patrick McMillan"

California, An Ecological Island

California is by far our most diverse state. It's a hotbed for diversity and relicts from the past. How do you generate such diversity, how has it been maintained and what can we learn from California's geologic history? Join Patrick for a look at the coasts, scrublands, deserts and mountains of San Diego County.

Get the free PBS App

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

The Florida Scrub - Islands In Time

Join Patrick as he explores the Florida Scrub, one of the most unique and endangered habitats in North America. A place that is filled with bizarre plants and animals found nowhere else, some of which look as though they come straight from science fiction. As we learn about each species' engaging stories and histories the history of Florida itself emerges. The pressures of man have all but erased this precious habitat but hope remains for the Florida Scrub.

  • 2020-07-06T11:30:00-07:00

Can We Save The Florida Scrub?

One of the most unique and fascinating places on the planet is also one of the most endangered. Legless lizards that swim through the sand, giant Indigo Snakes, burrowing tortoises and brilliant jays all depend on this fragments of scrub that remain. Join Patrick as he explores whether a collaboration of science and will can save the scrub.

  • 2020-07-07T11:30:00-07:00

The Hidden Side of Table Rock

Table Rock is one of the most recognizable and most visited landmarks in the southern Blue Ridge. The rugged cliffs here would seem to expose most of the nature of this place, but if you're willing to venture a little farther afield on trails that are less travelled, you'll find that there is more here than meets the eye. Join Patrick as he traverses rock outcrops in search of 10,000 year old Native American petroglyphs, explores one of the world's most unique wetlands and discovers the surprising life hidden in the recesses of the mountain's craggy rock.

  • 2020-07-08T11:30:00-07:00

Hummingbirds - Life In Fast-Forward

Few creatures capture our attention and admiration more than hummingbirds. These miniature jeweled treasures move at mind-boggling speeds but also have the power to shape and change our world. Join Patrick as he explores the lives and biology of these creatures using high-tech technologies to uncover the secret lives of these little birds that live life in fast-forward.

  • 2020-07-09T11:30:00-07:00

Catalina Island - A Natural History Fairytale

Catalina Island sits in the middle of one of the world's great biodiversity hotspots. It has all the challenges that any island faces but rather than dwindling, life here is thriving. Join Patrick as he explores this magical island and the unique life that has developed and finds a safe harbor here on Catalina.

  • 2020-07-10T11:30:00-07:00

Catalina Island - Jewel of the Pacific

Every island is unique. The same characteristics that lead to the special and often bizarre wildlife and plants here also make them extremely vulnerable to loss. There may be a place where man and island can exist to the benefit of all. Catalina Island is that jewel of the Pacific. Join Patrick as he continues to explore this land where man and island coexist.

  • 2020-07-13T11:30:00-07:00

West Texas - The Trans Pecos

When I first visited this corner of the US, I was astounded by the beauty and biodiversity that grace this part of Texas, from prairie dogs and antelopes to tarantulas and horned lizards. The Trans Pecos is big, roughly the same size as Maine and stuck right on the border with Mexico. Join Patrick as he explores the strange and exotic life of the Chihuahuan Desert.

  • 2020-07-14T11:30:00-07:00

The Trans-Pecos - A Changing Landscape

Change is an integral part of the world and the world appears to be getting a little riskier. Climate is volatile and change in the past has led to the world we live in today. Join Patrick as he continues to explore the Mexican border region of the Trans Pecos a land marked with change.

  • 2020-07-15T11:30:00-07:00

Colorado's Rocky Mountains - The Rooftop of America

Life in the alpine is existing on the fringe. It's hard to believe that life could persist here, let alone flourish. From beautiful alpine flowers to mountain goats and the shy pika, life is abundant. Join Patrick as he explores just how life thrives in the Colorado Rockies, the rooftop of America.

  • 2020-07-16T11:30:00-07:00

Colorado's Rocky Mountains - Challenges and Changes

When you think of the Rocky Mountains you probably picture a wilderness that is far removed from our influence. It turns out that may not be the case. Life is changing here from the alpine lakes to fragile tundra life to the mighty forests of the mountain slopes. Join Patrick as he explores the challenges and changes that are happening in the Colorado Rockies.

  • 2020-07-17T11:30:00-07:00

South Texas - A Hint of the Tropics

This is a place that few of us will ever visit. It's packed with biodiversity. Many of the plants and animals that are found here can be found no place else in the United States and their future is tied to a connection with Mexico, here on the border. Join Patrick as he explores a land of Green Jays and Plain Chachalacas in South Texas.

  • 2020-07-20T11:30:00-07:00

South Texas - The Border

How important is the border region to the ebb and flow of life in your backyard? How important is it to our natural heritage? Do the birds you enjoy or the waterfowl you pursue need this place to survive? Join Patrick as he explores the connections to your backyard on the volatile border region of South Texas.

  • 2020-07-21T11:30:00-07:00

Frogs - Spring's Symphony In Peril

How many youngsters become fascinated with nature by playing in mud puddles catching tadpoles and frogs? I did. Today, all around the globe, these harbingers of spring are disappearing at an alarming rate. Join Patrick in a race across the region, through the seasons, and against time, to uncover the most secretive, strange, and seldom seen frogs in the Southeast.

  • 2020-07-22T11:30:00-07:00

The Clemson Forest - A Backyard Bounty of Life

How important is your suburban woodland or even your backyard to the ecology of the continent and the globe? The Clemson Experimental Forest is over 17,000 acres of woodland and pastoral agricultural land surrounded by a suburban and agricultural landscape in the piedmont of South Carolina. It doesn't boast lofty summits, towering waterfalls or rushing rivers but it does contain a world-class diversity of plants and animals that is difficult to surpass in the highly modified piedmont landscape.

  • 2020-07-23T11:30:00-07:00

The Clemson Forest - from Tragedy to Triumph

Today, the Clemson Forest is over 17,000 acres of lovely, pristine-looking woodland and pastoral landscape nestled among suburban neighborhoods in the South Carolina piedmont. But this forest wasn't always so picturesque. Seventy years ago this landscape was an ecological disaster. Years of poor cotton farming practice led to dramatic erosion and hardly a tree grew in this now verdant setting.

  • 2020-07-24T11:30:00-07:00

The Longleaf Empire - Apalachicola National Forest

The once vast Longleaf Pine woodlands once dominated the South with their green, open and grassy expanses. Today this is one of the rarest habitats on the planet reduced to just two percent of its historic extent. Join Patrick as he explores a land filled with some of the strangest plants and animals anywhere in the Apalchicola National Forest, a land kissed by fire.

  • 2020-07-27T11:30:00-07:00

The Longleaf Empire - Francis Marion National Forest

It seems that no matter where we look we can find evidence of man shaping the world around him, the world we consider "natural." Fire is essential for the existence of the longleaf pine woodland, one of the rarest and most interesting habitats on the planet. Join Patrick as he continues to explore the incredible and strange life that makes its home here in the heart of the longleaf empire in the Francis Marion National Forest.

  • 2020-07-28T11:30:00-07:00

California Superbloom - A World of Dramatic Change

Once or twice in a lifetime the desert is transformed to a carpet of color and exuberant life. Join Patrick as he explores the deserts of California as they burst with life and color that is gone within weeks of appearing. This short-lived flush is critical to life in the desert. How do plants and animals survive in such a place and just how important is a superbloom to the continued survival of the desert?

  • 2020-07-29T11:30:00-07:00

Butterflies - Bringing Butterflies Home!

Butterflies capture our imagination and our heart with their ephemeral beauty. Join Patrick as he explores the secret lives of butterflies and learn how to manage your landscape to bring these winged jewels into your yard and your life.

  • 2020-07-30T11:30:00-07:00

Sound - The Fullness of Nature, Part 1

Sound is everywhere. It tells us where we are, what time of year it is, and what is around us. Can you imagine an early morning walk without the sounds of nature filling out the picture? Scientists use sounds to help us understand populations, behavior and even ecosystem health. Everyone, regardless of our physical challenges can help to contribute to the conservation of our shared world.

  • 2020-07-31T11:30:00-07:00

Sound - The Fullness of Nature, Part 2

Sound is everywhere. It tells us where we are, what time of year it is, and what is around us. Can you imagine an early morning walk without the sounds of nature filling out the picture? Scientists use sounds to help us understand populations, behavior and even ecosystem health. Everyone, regardless of our physical challenges can help to contribute to the conservation of our shared world.

  • 2020-08-03T11:30:00-07:00

The New River Valley - Ancient landscapes, Ancient Connections

Ironically, the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world. For millions and millions of years it has been charting a path through Appalachia. Join Patrick as he explores the unique life that has developed in this ancient valley right along with the traditional use and relationships of humans.

  • 2020-08-04T11:30:00-07:00

Jocassee - The Jewel of the Escarpment

One of the last best places on earth - that's the designation given to this glistening, crystal clear lake and surrounding area by National Geographic. Jocassee is a place that is both well-known and still somewhat unexplored. Waterfalls, gorges, rare plants and animals as well as stunning scenery make this lake one of the most stunning places in the United States. Join Patrick as he explores this region, where he uncovers species that were first discovered for the eastern United States during the filming of this program.

  • 2020-08-05T11:30:00-07:00

Gardening for Life - Transforming Your Landscape for Life

Gardens are much more than a pretty place. They can be an oasis of life in all forms, preserving the nature that brings us so much value and an oasis for us spiritually. Join Patrick as he explores how your landscape can be transformed into a crucible of life. Patrick's changes at the South Carolina Botanical Garden have made a dramatic impact on the life there, where more than 200 bird species, 18 species of frogs and toads and thousands of species of insects now find a refuge.

  • 2020-08-06T11:30:00-07:00