ken burns

Plume Hunters and the Everglades

You probably don't see many enormous plumed hats on the street anymore, but you will see them in Paris fashion shows (John Galliano used them liberally for spring 2010), or glued onto glitzy dresses meant to impress Bob Mackie on a reality show. But if it were the turn of the 20th century, chances are, you'd see them everywhere.

You've probably seen a Ken Burns documentary or two -- he's famous for productions like "The Civil War," "Baseball" and "Jazz." In September, PBS will broadcast his latest project, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," a work that took six years to film and involved a lot of trekking across the country's most pristine locales. "Sierra," the Sierra Club's magazine, recently included an article by Dayton Duncan, a writer and producer who collaborates with Burns. Duncan pitched the project to the filmmaker as a result of a lifelong interest in the National Park Service -- an interest that eventually led him to visit all 58 parks in the system. The project helped fund (or at least justify) Duncan's trips to some of the more outlying national park locations (like Hawaii Volcanoes or Paka O Amerika Samoa), as well as sponsoring returns to old favorites (like Joshua Tree).