Parents' Guide to

American Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston

By Stephanie Morgan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Inspiring look at people of color in the U.S. natural world.

TV PBS Reality TV 2022
America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston TV show Poster

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In recent years a national conversation has started around the complicated relationship Black Americans have with nature. But American Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston, hosted by author and cultural activist Baratunde Thurston (of Popular Science's Future Of) addresses this, and other racial issues, with a kid-friendly approach few others have mastered. With his upbeat attitude and gentle manner, viewers can't help but want to follow Thurston on his adventures. From Death Valley to rural Idaho, he explores the diversity of the wild as well as the people that make it their homes. His open-minded curiosity leads to illuminating conversations around his subject's traditions and preservation efforts, as well as their people's often painful histories of oppression, exploitation, and relocation. In one particularly moving discussion, Thurston addresses the sense of danger that Black people may experience while spending time outdoors by speaking to a Black ultra-marathon runner about how the death of Ahmaud Arbery (a Black man who was gunned down by three White men while jogging) affected his relationship with his sport. While the slower pace, and sometimes heavy subject matter, may leave younger kids restless, the series is ultimately aspirational. It's a love letter to the American landscape, as well as the American ideals of perseverance and activism, that parents will want to share with their children.

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