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Video Documentaries - Themes

Here is a selection of some 180 of our documentaries, sorted by theme, touching on a variety of the ecological, political, and social aspects of our state's conservation challenges.  The videos are presented here in the Real Media format.

Please know that the current version of the free PC Real Media player (version 11) allows a user to not just stream video, but also save it for use later.  To do that, after you double-click on a Real file that you'd like to see, just look under the command, "File", you'll see the menu "Record", and then "Record this Clip", which should store the file on your computer.  We hope that this new feature gives you more flexibility in how you use the Texas Legacy materials.

Full Interviews - Profiles - Themes - Regions - Arts & Culture - Tagged Clips



Jim Bill Anderson, a cattle grazer in Canadian, tells about his effort to operate his ranch more sustainably.

Alan Birkenfeld raises and sells grass-fed beef, lamb and chicken from his ranch near Nazareth.

Darryl Birkenfeld, an educator in Nazareth, explains the value of local "foodsheds".

Sowing the Seeds has Bob & Mickey Burleson, J.D. Green, and Benito Trevino describe the value of plants, horticulture and agriculture in the Blackland Prairie, Coastal Plain and Rio Grande Valley.  20 min.

Walt Davis, a Red River valley rancher, shows how holistic agriculture can restore healthy soils.

From the Ground Up collects stories about organic produce and grain farming from Jim Hightower, Carol Ann Sayle, Darryl Birkenfeld, Malcolm Beck, Reggie James, and Eric Michielssen, with a humorous touch from Gumby. (produced in cooperation with the Environmental Center of San Luis) 29 min.

Jeanne Gramstorff, a Farnsworth banker, discusses the flaws in intensive hog-farming operations.

John Graves, a Glen Rose author, muses on the relationship between humans and the land.

Jim Hightower, the Austin populist, critiques the use of chemicals in agriculture.

Dennis Holbrook, a Mission citrus farmer, describes his switch from conventional to organic agriculture.

Marie Killebrew, a rancher from Canadian, recalls pioneering days.

Clarence Ogle, a self-sufficient Fredericksburg farmer, explains how he raises and harvests tank-raised tilapia.

Gary Oldham, a Samnorwood cotton farmer, produces organic  textiles.

Terry O'Rourke, a Houston environmental attorney, talks about the legacy of ranching for Texas landscape, myth and education.

Larhea Pepper grows and markets organic cotton for an O'Donnell co-op.

Carol Ann Sayle, an Austin organic farmer, encourages sustainable agriculture and soil health.

Peggy Sechrist, a Fredericksburg educator, explains the idea of solar dollars.

Richard Sechrist, a Fredericksburg rancher, raises grass-fed beef to lower E.coli risk.

Working with Nature compiles stories about raising organic meats and fibers from Richard Sechrist, Alan Birkenfeld, Jim Bill Anderson, Walt Davis, Jeanne Gramstorff, Peggy Sechrist, Gary Oldham, Lareah Pepper, Jim Hightower, and Duanne Wadell.  (produced in cooperation with the Environmental Center of San Luis)  30 min.

Air & Light Pollution

Lanell Anderson, a Channelview realtor and activist, works against petrochemical air pollution along the Houston Ship channel.

T.C. Calvert, a San Antonio community organizer, tackles air pollution problems.

Alfred Dominic, a church deacon in Port Arthur, speaks of his concern about nearby PCB incinerators.

Grover Hankins, a civil rights attorney and professor in Houston, discusses cases of environmental pollution and justice.

Adlene Harrison, a former Dallas EPA Administrator, confronts politics and air pollution.

Kamlesh Lulla, a NASA geologist, uses space imagery for a big view of Texas and the global environment.

Brandt Mannchen, a Houston air pollution investigator, explains the value of traditional command-and-control regulation.

Sue Pope, a Midlothian landowner and mother works to improve health and air quality near a cement kiln.

Fran Sage, an Alpine educator, discusses the effects and mitigation of light pollution near the McDonald Observatory.

George Smith, a Houston dentist, reports on newly recognized sources of air pollution.

Smitty Smith, an Austin lobbyist, uses witty tactics for sending a message on air pollution regulation.

Andy Wilkinson, a Panhandle singer-songwriter, recalls dust storms of the 1950s.

Billie Woods, an Elgin musician, organizes neighbors against industrial air pollution in their community.

Attitudes and Cultures

H.C. Clark, a Houston geologist and professor, merges academics and advocacy in his work.

Bob McFarlane, a Houston ecological consultant, contrasts the approaches of scientists and engineers to environmental problems.

Pleas McNeel, a San Antonio media activist, connects consumer and TV culture.

Daniel Quinn, a Houston author, reflects on the fate of a human society divorced from the broader community of life.

Big Bend

Bob Burleson, a Temple attorney, explorer, and prairie expert, tells of hosting Justice William O. Douglas on Texas adventures.

Earl Burnam, a Fort Worth businessman and activist, shares his love for the Big Bend desert.

Hal Flanders, an Alpine naturalist, tells of the diversity and richness of a desert river.

Tom Curry, an Alpine graphic artist, works against a proposed NAFTA highway that would disrupt rural communities and habitat.

Chester Rowell, a Marfa botanist, explains the delicate and diverse adaptations of desert plants to their harsh environment.

Big Thicket

Richard Harrel, a biology professor in Beaumont, explains the biodiversity of the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Maxine Johnston, a Batson librarian, recalls the work that went into creating the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Geraldine Watson, a botanist near Silsbee, remembers efforts to create the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Geraldine Watson, Maxine Johnston and Richard Harrel describe the community that organized around creation and protection of the Big Thicket National Preserve.  16 min.


Winnie Burkett, a Clear Lake ornithologist, explains sanctuary plans for protecting songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors.

Russell Clapper, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, remembers early efforts to protect and restore the whooping crane.

Bessie Cornelius, a Beaumont birder, describes the effect of DDT on the Gulf of Mexico's brown pelican population.

Robin Doughty, an Austin historian, shares his poems about whooping cranes.

Victor Emanuel, an Austin birder and nature tour guide, explains the start and ultimate success of the Freeport bird count.

Midge Erskine, a long-time operator of a Midland wildlife rehabilitation facility, tells of the effort to protect birds from drowning in waste oil pits.

Bebe Fenstermaker, a Boerne rancher, shows how birds and birders  helped to protect her family lands.

Jesse Grantham, a Rockport botanist and ornithologist, explains his concern about rare shorebirds.

Rob Lee, an Amarillo game warden, recalls undercover bird poaching  investigations.

Tom Pincelli, a Harlingen priest, talks about the value of birds and ecotourism in the Valley.

Ken Seyffert, an Amarillo birdwatcher, enjoys prairie chicken antics.

Jim Stinebaugh, an Austin game warden, recounts a trial for eagle killing.

Building & Design

Pliny Fisk, an Austin architect, explains the development of sustainable designs.

Gail Vittori, an Austin educator, promotes rainwater harvesting methods.


Portraits in Action: Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower, Austin-based author, columnist, editor, radio program host, and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, speaks about populism, citizenship, corporate influence, and environmental protection.  Environmental singer Bill Oliver wraps up Hightower's story with his song, "Don't Mess with Texas". 43 min.

Portraits in Action: Diane Wilson
Ms Wilson, a shrimper, grandmother, and environmental activist in Seadrift, Texas, discusses her work to protect San Antonio Bay, its wildlife, fishing industry and neighbors, from pollution from petrochemical and smelting industries. 44 min.

Coast & Estuaries

Bob Armstrong, an Austin politician, recalls the effort to acquire Matagorda Island as a park.

James Matz, a former Calhoun County Commissioner, explains his concerns about canal dredging through the Laguna Madre.

Community Organizing

Bill Addington, a Sierra Blanca grocer and landowner, recalls the fight against a proposed local radioactive waste site.

Susan Almanza, an Austin community organizer, promotes environmental justice.

T.C. Calvert, a San Antonio community organizer, tackles air pollution problems.




Sue Curry, an Alpine activist, lobbies to make state environmental agencies more responsive to the public.

Beverly Gattis, an Amarillo activist, remembers her anti-nuclear organizing efforts.

Tootsie Herndon, the Spofford mayor, recounts her small community's lopsided battle against a waste site.

Rick Lowerre, an Austin attorney, explains the power of organized landowners in challenging hazardous waste sites and facilities.

Mary Lynch, a Dell City publisher, helps a rural area expose flaws in plans for a radioactive waste site.

Roy Malveaux, a Beaumont minister, rallies his congregation for cleaner air and water.

Economy & Markets

Stephen Klineberg, a Houston sociology professor, studies the balance between economic development and environment protection.

Larry Shelton, a Nacogdoches cabinetmaker, describes how the boom-and-bust nature of the early timber industry harmed east Texas' ecology and economy.

Genevieve Vaughan, an Austin donor and philosopher, decries the market's arm to communities and nature.


David Langford, a Boerne photographer, explains the value of hunting to the rural economy and habitat.

Our Place in Nature - A range of Texans, including a rancher, birder, priest, accountant, and horticulturalist, hailing from the Panhandle, Gulf Coast, Hill Country, and South Texas, explain how ecotourism can be a practical venture in conservation and development. Narrated by Ann Richards. Honorable Mention, 2006 Montana CINE International Film Festival.  28 minutes. Note: This is an experimental captioned video.

Tom Pincelli, a Harlingen priest, talks about the value of birds and ecotourism in the Valley.


Jim Blackburn, a Houston environmental attorney, describes the often unseen value of Houston's native ecosystems.

Alma Burnam, a Fort Worth school eacher, brings environmental questions and lessons into the classroom.

Ted Eubanks, an Austin travel consultant, advocates outdoor access and recreation.

Katherine Goodbar, a Dallas teacher,believes in how field trips to the outdoors can help students.

J.D. Green, a retired ranch foreman, tells about teaching gardening in Houston's inner city.


Mavis Belisle, a peace advocate, monitors nuclear weapons and waste issues at the Amarillo-based Peace Farm.

Betty Brink, a Fort Worth journalist, recalls the opposition to construction of the Comanche Peak nuclear plant.

Shudde Fath, an Austin utility board member, remembers the controversy over buying into the South Texas Nuclear Project.

Ben Figueroa, a Kingsville social worker, explains the politics of opposing a uranium mine.

David Freeman, a utility executive, recalls the debate over dropping plans for a proposed lignite strip mine in Fayette County.

Tonya Kleuskens, a Dawn farmer explains work to stop a Panhandle high-level nuclear waste disposal site.

Gary Oliver, a Marfa musician concerned about radioactive material in west Texas, sings a parody about the perils of nuclear waste.

John Prager, a Smithville veteran, describes the effects of modern lignite strip mining.

Andy Sansom, an Austin journalist, exposes construction flaws at a nuclear plant.

Jim Schermbeck, a Slaton organizer, recalls civil disobedience against the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.

Russel Smith, an Austin trade representative, touts the value of alternative energy.

Smitty Smith, an Austin lobbyist, tells how wind energy has revitalized west Texas communities. [PC IE5 req'd]

Steve Smith, a Deer Park petrochemical worker, explains some of the dangers of working in and living near the industry facilities.

Pat Suter, a Corpus Christi chemistry professor, recalls the lack of local safeguards over the risky handling of uranium ore.

Faith & Love

Mickey Burleson, a journalist from Temple, explains the spiritual base for her love of nature.

Ned Fritz, a Dallas environmental attorney, reflects on his life-long love of nature.

Frank Kurzaj, a San Antonio priest, supports environmental dialogue in the Church.

Leroy Matthiesen, emeritus Bishop for Amarillo, reflects on the simple pleasures and connections with the Earth.

Campbell Read, a professor in Dallas, examines the theological basis of stewardship.

Fin & Shellfish

Tony Amos, a Port Aransas  oceanographer, explains the conflicts within the Texas shrimping community over the use of Turtle Excluder Devices.

Deyaun Boudreaux, a Laguna Vista shrimper, explains the interplay of Gulf  shrimping and turtle protection.

Mary Lou Campbell, a gallery owner in Mercedes, explains the effort to protect the Laguna Madre from channel dredging and spoil disposal.

Felix Cox, an Aransas Pass commercial fisherman, tells of the danger of a Gulf storm.

Henry Hildebrand, a Corpus Christi marine biologist, tells of politics and shrimping.

Clark Hubbs, an Austin icthyologist and professor, seeks appreciation and protection for fish.

Walt Kittelberger, a Port Mansfield ishing guide, reports on the thrills of sportfishing in the Laguna Madre.

Sharron Stewart, a Lake Jackson activist, explains the risks of coastal litter to marine life.

Diane Wilson, a Seadrift shrimper, remembers conflicts with game wardens.


John Bryant, a former Congressional representative from Dallas, explained efforts to regulate clearcutting in national forests.

Ned Fritz tells of the Forest Service's adoption of prescribed burning in the national forests of east Texas.

Pete Gunter, a Denton philosophy professor, explains how private timber firms are gradually improving the sustainability of their lumber  operations.

Richard LeTourneau, a Longview machinist, remembers a childhood encounter that forged a life of conservation.

Ike McWhorter, a Silsbee forest steward, reinstates fire to restore east Texas woodlands.

Char Miller, environmental historian and biographer of the founder of the US Forest Service, outlines the history of U.S. public forests.

Jim Neal, a Nacogdoches wildlife biologist, explains the important habitat found in bottomland hardwood forests.

George Russell, a Huntsville video producer, presses for the protection of east Texas forestland.

Historic Preservation

Sissy Fenstermaker, a neighbor, remembers the preservation of the historic military post at Fort Davis.

Char Miller, a San Antonio historian, shows how the city grew and evolved with its paths, streets and highways.


Sue Bailey, the owner of a Bridge City marina, describes the annual butterfly migration through her community.

Carol Cullar, an Eagle Pass teacher uses the wonder of butterfly migrations to teach about the global web of life.

Don Kennard, a former state senator from Fort Worth, recalls  introducing legislation to regulate DDT.

Justice & Ethics

Ernie Cortes, an organizer relates social justice theories to San Antonio.

Phyllis Glazer, a Winona rancher, explains the fight for environmental justice near a hazardous waste site.

Grover Hankins, a civil rights attorney and professor in Houston, discusses cases of environmental pollution and justice.

Lakes & Streams

Janice Bezanson, an Austin river advocate, recalls the political reaction to a fight against a dam.

Fred Dahmer, a student of the Caddo Lake system, recounts the clearing of the great Red River logjam.

John Echols, a military veteran from Uncertain, recounts his work to protect the Caddo Lake area.

Carl Frentress, a wildlife biologist in Athens, remembers the clearing and impounding of Lake Athens.

Stuart Henry, an Austin attorney, fights against the damming of Texas rivers.

Terry Hershey, a philanthropist, works to prevent flood damage along Houston bayous.

Terry McIntire, an Arlington businessman, defends his family homestead near the Paluxy River from a proposed dam.

Terry O'Rourke, a former state and Harris county attorney, recalls the prosecution of industrial polluters.

Keith Ozmore, a former staffer for Rep. Bob Eckhardt, recalls the pollution cleanup of the Houston Ship Channel.

Marcos Paredes, a Lajitas ranger, describes the protection of the Rio Grande's Wild and Scenic reaches.



Dwight Shellman, an attorney in Karnak, describes the history and biology of Caddo Lake.

Land use

Mary Arnold, an Austin citizen activist, explains the effort to set aside local habitat to mitigate nearby development.

Helen Dutmer, a local politician, sees sprawl and downtown neglect in San Antonio.

Martha Fenstermaker, a Laredo artist, fights to save her family ranch from road agencies.

Bill Oliver, an Austin musician, shares a witty song about Barton Springs, development and non-point pollution.

Ben Sargent, an Austin editorial cartoonist, addresses urban growth and mass transit.

John Scanlan, an Austin attorney, discusses the gap between planned and actual urban growth.

Ed Scharf, a businessman from Helotes, tells about his efforts to protect the rural Hill Country.

Barrie Zimmelman, an urban planner and community activist, remembers the effort to revitalize Houston's downtown.


Dede Armentrout, a San Marcos zoology professor and former regional Audubon Society director, explains the biological risks of private game ranches and wildlife breeding.

Mike Bradshaw, a Carrizo Springs game warden recalls his early career and work against deer poaching.

Al Brothers, a Berclair rancher,  promotes good deer herd, hunting business and habitat management together.

Billy Pat McKinney, a Marathon biologist, tells of his work to restore mountain lions.

Bonnie McKinney, a Marathon biologist, explains her efforts for black bear recovery.

Nancy Umphres, a Zapata wildlife rehabilitator, remembers saving an injured bobcat to later release it into the wild.


Malcolm Beck, a San Antonio agricultural supplier, promotes compost to improve soil.

Ruth Lofgren, a San Antonio microbiologist, talks about the beauty and essential role of microbial decomposers.

Noise Pollution

John Ahrns, a Round Mountain nature guide, tells about the rarity and value of silence amid the din of modern life.

Parks and Open Space

Ann Hamilton, a Houston philanthropist, advocates for increased open space.

Ted Eubanks, an Austin travel consultant, advocates outdoor access and recreation.

Tim Hixon, a San Antonio builder, recalls the creation of Government Canyon park.

David Schmidly, a Lubbock biologist, accounts for the need to acquire more public land.

Babe Schwartz, the former Galveston state senator, explains the need to keep Texas beaches clear and open to the public.

Ted Siff, an Austin open-space advocate, tells the history of parks in the capitol city.


Richard Alles, a San Antonio activist fights to protect urban trees from development and road construction.

Scooter Cheatham, an Austin ethnobotanist, explains the many uses of native desert plants.

Larry DeMartino, a San Antonio landscape architect, recounts the history and value of prairie grasslands.

Susan Hughes, a San Antonio birder, explains the value of urban wildscape to people and animals.

Lynn Lowrey, a Houston plantsman, is remembered by his fellow plant explorers, collectors, and propagators, including Scooter Cheatham, David Creech, John Fairey, Mary Anne Pickens, Carl Schoenfeld, and Mike Shoup.

Bob Randall, a community gardener in Houston, adapts his lawn to the native plants, soil and climate.

Benito Trevino, a Rio Grande City native plant raiser, shares traditional wisdom on the uses of mesquite.

Benito Trevino explains how the native yucca plant can be used for food, fiber, soap or shelter.

Fred Wills, a San Antonio biologist, tells about ash juniper facts and myths, and the risk of over-clearing.


Sissy Farenthold, a former state representative from Corpus Christi, recounts the harsh reality of insider politics.

Don Kennard, a former state senator from Fort Worth, recalls  introducing legislation to regulate DDT.

Irene Scharf, a Helotes librarian, recounts her political campaign as a Green Party candidate.


Bob & Mickey Burleson describe their work restoring a tallgrass native prairie near Temple.

Jim Eidson, a Celeste botanist, tells of his work to restore the blackland tallgrass prairie.

Bill Neiman, a Junction farmer, provides native seeds for prairie restoration.


Lou Dubose, an Austin writer and editor, talks about journalistic ethics and environmental coverage.

Michael King, an editor in Austin, discusses the role of an independent press in environmental reporting.

Ben Sargent, an Austin editorial cartoonist, explains how he can address complex transit issues in a single-frame drawing.

Marjorie Adams, an Austin columnist and filmmaker, remembers the difficulty of publishing environmental articles in a Beaumont newspaper.

Public Health

Meg Guerra, a Laredo rancher and publisher, discusses public health in the colonias.

Sylvia Herrera, an Austin activist, explains the health effects that stem from a local power plant.

Reggie James, an Austin advocate, questions the safety of genetically engineered products.

Marvin Legator, a Galveston toxicologist, points out the gaps in chemical risk assessments.

David Marrack, a Houston physician, reflects on the politics of epidemiological research.

Susan Mika, a San Antonio nun, investigates health problems on the border.

Carlos Truan, a former Texas State Senator from Corpus Christi, remembers the struggle to protect public health from environmental risks.


Ken Zarker, a state agency official from Austin, explains how recycling can bring new value to used goods.


David Blankinship, an Alamo  biologist, works to study and protect Valley wildlife refuges.

Merriwood Ferguson, a Brownsville builder, recalls the work to protect  wildlife corridors in the Valley.

Water Quality

John Ahrns, a nature guide in Round Mountain, explains the vulnerability and value of groundwater and springs.

Maria Berriozabal, San Antonio politician, explains her deep love of water, and passion for its protection.

Jim Earhart, a Laredo biologist, explains his concerns about toxic chemicals in the Rio Grande.

Johnny French, a Corpus Christi biologist, discusses dredging and seagrasses in the Laguna Madre.

Ygnacio Garza, a former Brownsville mayor, talks about work to improve water treatment.

Jim Lynch, a Dell City farmer, expresses his concern about possible  radioactive waste contamination of the local aquifer and the farming community it supports.

Susan Lynch, a Rio Frio landowner, tracks the effort to clean up and protect the Frio River.

Ellis Pickett, a Liberty surfer and coastal activist, laments the health risk, secrecy and lack of testing for water quality.

Armando Quintanilla, a San Antonio mechanic, fights groundwater pollution.

George Rice, a San Antonio hydrologist, explains the need to protect the Edwards Aquifer and its recharge zone.

Tom Vaughan, a Laredo biologist, explains the source of source of toxics in the Rio Grande.

George Veni, a San Antonio hydrogeologist, explains the vulnerability of the Hill Country aquifers.

Water Supply

John Carpenter, a Fort Stockton oilman, recalls the old Comanche Springs when they still flowed near his hometown.

Echoes from a Well - Farmers are joined by a musician, grocer, banker, teacher and other activists to discuss the controversies of aquifers, wellfields, and groundwater export in the state. 26 min.

Ken Kramer, a non-profit leader in Austin, recalls the Sierra Club's work to protect the Edwards Aquifer from overpumping.

Joe Moore, Jr., a former agency official, talks in San Marcos about early efforts to maintain estuarine inflows.

Ripples on a Pond - A biologist, ecologist, baitcamp owner, machinist, professor, attorney and others discuss the dilemma and future of dams, diversions and surface water in Texas. 29 min.

Fay Sinkin, a member of the Edwards Underground Water District, explains how xeriscape was introduced to San Antonio's residents.


Conservation History Association of Texas
Texas Legacy Project

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