Baratunde Thurston canoeing down the Suwannee River in Georgia. (Part2 Pictures for Twin Cities PBS)

In the PBS series “America Outdoors,” host Baratunde Thurston explores our country’s relationship to its natural places.

Flamingos stand by the water along a Lake Michigan Beach on Sept. 22, 2023, in Port Washington, Wis. (Paul A. Smith / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP)

The American flamingos spotted Friday in Port Washington, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee, marked the first sighting of the species in Wisconsin state history.

American white pelicans make a twice yearly appearance in Will County during fall and spring migration. (Diane Renkin / National Park Service)

The Forest Preserve District of Will County is celebrating the birds’ fall arrival during Saturday’s Pelican Watch event at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon.

A colony of ants formed their own life raft, seen in Hickory Creek Preserve in Will County. (Courtesy of Meagan Crandall)

If their nests become waterlogged, ants will evacuate and form a waterproof ball that floats on the surface until the waters recede.

Brookfield Zoo's three-week-old giraffe Kinda (rhymes with Linda) makes her public debut Sept. 8, 2023. (Jim Schulz / CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

The zoo’s three-week-old baby giraffe is making her debut Friday and can now be seen daily, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) pair on sea ice, Larsen B Ice Shelf, Weddell Sea, Antarctica. (Sergio Pitamitz / VWPics / AP)

Four out of five emperor penguin colonies analyzed in the Bellingshausen Sea, west of the Antarctic Peninsula, saw no chicks survive last year as the area experienced an enormous loss of sea ice, according to a new study.

Meet Brookfield Zoo's baby giraffe, born Aug. 19. (Jim Schulz / CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

The 6-foot, 130-pound calf was born Aug. 19, Brookfield Zoo announced Monday.

Dead Coral is pictured at Sombrero Reef. (Courtesy of Coral Restoration Foundation)

Experts now say they expect “complete mortality” of the bleached reefs in just a week, and worry reefs at greater depths could face the same fate if the unprecedented ocean warmth continues to escalate.

Armand Cann, fish and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, left, and Brad Semel, engaged species recovery specialist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, walk along a protected site at Montrose Beach ahead of the release of three plovers on July 12, 2023. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)

Three endangered piping plover chicks were released into the wild Wednesday at a protected site at Montrose Beach in an effort to aid in its species recovery. It marks the first time plovers have been released in the state.

(Gavin Wright / Shedd Aquarium)

For the first time in eight years, there’s a rockhopper penguin chick at the Shedd Aquarium.

Rocky the coyote in his old enclosure at River Trail Nature Center. (Chicago Alliance for Animals)

The coyote’s new home is 10 times larger than his old one, but animal rights activists still want Rocky transferred to an animal sanctuary.

(Pexels / 현덕 김)

Thousands of bees settled in Daley Plaza this week, but the prize for craziest infestation goes to tiny Elko, Nev., which has been overrun by millions of crickets.

Imani, photographed in April 2023 at Montrose Beach. (Courtesy of Tamima Itani)

Piping plovers might not be on the nest in Chicago this year, but 2023 is shaping up as a banner breeding year for the birds across the Great Lakes.

A black bear, photographed at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. (Shenandoah National Park / National Park Service)

A black bear was caught on video running through the parking lot of a Gurnee daycare. Wildlife officials confirmed the sighting as the real deal.

Shedd Aquarium biologist Melissa Youngquist, checking in on wetland monitoring sites. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

This time of year, Shedd Aquarium biologist Melissa Youngquist can be found in the woods, sloshing through ponds in search of signs of amphibian life.

Nakili, the eastern black rhinoceros. (Jim Schulz / CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

Nakili was diagnosed with kidney disease last summer. At 33 years old, he was the oldest male of his species living in an accredited North American zoo.