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Park, Partners Receive Emmy Awards For Documentary

Mammoth Cave National Park

National Park News

On July 31st, Mammoth Cave went to the 46th annual Emmy Awards ceremony of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – and won.

An award-winning partnership between WKYU-PBS (Bowling Green) and the park resulted in Mammoth Cave: A Way to Wonder, a one-hour documentary, which received Emmys in four of the five categories for which it was nominated.  Mammoth Cave public information officer Vickie Carson received one of the statues for coordinating park staff and locations for the project.

“Our partnership with WKYU-PBS presented a rare opportunity that I have not witnessed at any other time in my 40 years with the National Park Service,” said Superintendent Patrick Reed.  “We saw from the project’s inception its potential to bring Mammoth Cave to nationwide and even global audiences, and through its words and images to inspire viewers to experience the world’s longest cave first-hand.  We are very grateful to WKYU-PBS and our financial supporters who made this happen.”

Mammoth Cave: A Way to Wonder was nominated in five categories – Informational/Instructional Program, Photographer, Editor, Lighting, and Cultural/Topical Documentary – and won in the first four categories.  Those named in the Emmy nominations include WKYU-PBS editor/producer Cheryl Beckley, WKYU-PBS senior producer/director David Brinkley, WKYU-PBS associate producer Jessica Gibbs, Western Kentucky University broadcasting student Brent Boyens, and Carson.  The station produced the program in partnership with the park, the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park, Bluegrass Cellular, and Commonwealth of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. 

The program focuses on history, science, the arts, and human stories of the land that has become a national park.  WKYU-PBS’s crew conducted 12 interviews and traveled to the park 40 times over 13 months to shoot above and below ground, shooting 60 hours of high-definition footage. The program first aired in October 2009 as a complementary piece to the six-episode Ken Burns film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  The park has access to the all the footage; some scenes will be used in the exhibits of the new visitor center.

Mammoth Cave: A Way to Wonder will soon be seen on PBS stations across the country. WKYU-PBS negotiated its national release through the National Educational Television Association to its 300 member stations.  It is available as a sales item benefiting the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park and the station.

“On Mammoth Cave: A Way to Wonder, I coordinated locations and arranged for assistance from park staff, who played an integral role in the project,” said Carson.  “We went everywhere – down ropes, on the river, and off-trail in the backcountry.  We approached each shoot with a plan in mind, and every time the result exceeded our expectations.  Mammoth Cave is a beautiful place and the high definition footage captures its every detail.”

The Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has members in 25 television markets (including Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington, and Charleston) across four states (Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia) and continues to recognize not only the best in local news, weather, and sports, but they have grown to celebrate accomplishments in writing, editing, children’s programming, documentaries, student productions, art design, and new media.


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