For Ex-Prez, Netflix 'National Parks' Series Comes Naturally

He is not a naturalist, but he plays one on TV!

He is none other than Barack Obama, one-time U.S. president and now your TV tour guide through a world of natural wonders.

This exercise in presidential pathfinding comes courtesy of a new five-part documentary series premiering on Netflix next week

On the show, titled “Our Great National Parks,” the former leader of the free world takes on a new role as narrator of a TV nature series.

As narrator, U.S. president No. 44 is charged with telling the heartwarming stories of animals and their families as they go about their lives in the forests, mountains, lowlands and waterways in some of the world’s most spectacular national parks.



Yes, that was "the world's" national parks, and not just the ones in the U.S., which is more than fitting for an American president whose vision extended internationally far beyond our shores.

In Episode One, President Obama introduces the show from a beach in Hawaii not far from his boyhood home.

After that, the episode ranges widely with forays in Gabon, Madagascar, Japan and our very own Yellowstone -- established by President Grant in 1872 and considered to be the world’s first national park.

Through it all, the ex-prez tells tales about the many diverse species of animals we meet in these remote locations. In the process, he informs us that some of these species have never been filmed before.

Theodore Roosevelt was a president we associate with the expansion of the national park movement in the United States because he established five national parks and 18 natural "monuments."

But even as he played a key leadership role in the conservation of natural spaces and the animals who resided in them, President Roosevelt also thought nothing of hunting and killing animals whose taxidermied heads he then used to decorate his Sagamore Hill home in Long Island.

By comparison, President Obama is much more pacificistic as he narrates this valuable Netflix series and continually stresses the importance of maintaining these essential wild places where animals -- endangered or otherwise -- can (hopefully) live in peace.

Aside from strolling on a Hawaiian beach to introduce the series, it does not seem as if President Obama actually accompanied camera crews to the locations seen on the series.

As many already know from his long career in public speaking, the tone of the president’s voice is a pleasure to listen to and in this show, his narration is impeccable.

It serves as a worthy complement to the high-quality filmmaking that makes this series a must-see for nature fans and non-fans alike.

“Our Great National Parks” starts streaming on Wednesday, April 13, on Netflix.

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