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BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR Wednesday, December 1 at 7:30 pm on WTTW

A high-flying panoramic exploration of iconic landmarks and little-known treasures across and beyond Illinois

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - November 10, 2021

Imagine if you could soar and swoop high above the dazzling fall foliage at Starved Rock State Park, the towering Indiana Dunes, the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, or a lost Native American city in Southern Illinois. Building on WTTW’s first CHICAGO FROM THE AIR special, WTTW host/writer Geoffrey Baer takes to the skies again to travel BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR on Wednesday, December 1 at 7:30 pm on all WTTW platforms, sharing fun facts and fascinating history as exhilarating drone photography captures towns, parks, railroads, waterways, monuments, and more in Illinois and beyond in summer, fall and winter. 

Highlights from the Special:

The towering Indiana Dunes, considered one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and the Indiana steel mills built on some of that former dune land

  • The remains of one of the most sophisticated prehistoric Native American civilizations in North America at Cahokia Mounds, near St. Louis
  • Morton Arboretum in Lisle, the former estate of the salt company president whose family motto was “plant trees”
  • The thrilling start of the annual Chicago to Mackinac race, the world’s longest and oldest freshwater sailboat race
  • Ski jumping in Fox River Grove where Olympic athletes train
  • Speedboat racing on the Chain o’ Lakes in summer, and snowmobile racing on those same lakes in winter 
  • Dazzling fall colors at downstate Starved Rock State Park
  • An enormous lock and hydroelectric dam in Lockport
  • The picturesque Great River Road, a highway that winds along the mighty Mississippi
  • A beautiful winding riverwalk in Naperville
  • A daredevil up-close view of massive wind turbines at a 25-square-mile wind farm.
  • Dream homes, including a minimalist modern masterpiece and a full-blown medieval castle
  • The famed Tempel Lipizzan horses and a nearby polo club
  • Native American history including the tragic tale of Black Hawk
  • Working steam trains in Union, Illinois, and much more!

The immersive experience is extended on a companion website ( offering a “making of” behind-the-scenes video with commentary by Baer and producer/director Eddie Griffin; a look at the history of commerce on the Mississippi River; the story of the former Native American city of Cahokia, the mounds its people left behind, and how its fascinating history is being kept alive for future generations; a feature that reveals Ravinia Festival’s surprising origins as an amusement park and why it owes its very existence to the railroad; an exploration of the Indiana Dunes and historic cemeteries from above; and a map and guide to places along the waterways, on land, and on sites shaped by the settlers who lived there. 

“BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR tells the stories of our region from a new and different vantage point, illuminating and expounding on its rich and fascinating history,” said Sandra Cordova Micek, President and CEO of WTTW. “With the power and innovation of drone cameras, we hope to take our curious viewers on an unforgettable journey while inspiring them to explore and discover on their own.”

“After finishing CHICAGO FROM THE AIR, we quickly realized there were so many more sights we wanted to explore,” said Geoffrey Baer. “In BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR, our viewers will discover stories we’ve never told before, including tales of the Mississippi River, Illinois farmlands, and Native American lore – all from the POV of a high-flying drone camera.”

BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR is produced and directed by Eddie Griffin and narrated and written by Geoffrey Baer. The director of aerial photography is Colin Hinkle of Soaring Badger Productions. Editor: Paul Thornton. Associate Producer: Lauren R. Drell. Art Director: Linda Fox. Executive Producer: Geoffrey Baer. The website is produced by Meredith Francis; designed and developed by Justin Henderson; and executive produced by Anne Gleason.

Lead support for BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR is provided by The Negaunee Foundation. Lead corporate support is provided by BMO Harris Bank. Additional support is provided by Donna Van Eekeren, CEO and President of Springboard Arts Chicago; ITW; Heritage Corridor CVB; Carl Buddig and Company; Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation; Judy and John McCarter; the Mollenhauer Progressive Philanthropic Fund in honor of Ida Mollenhauer; Ken Norgan; Mark and Lisa Pinsky; Joan and Paul Rubschlager; and Chris and Priya Valenti.

WTTW is the PBS member station in Chicago, committed to creating and presenting unique media content across distinct television and digital channels – WTTW, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create, WTTW World, WTTW PBS Kids 24/7,, and the PBS/WTTW video app. Recognized for award-winning journalism and local productions – such as CHICAGO TONIGHT, THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO BY ‘L’, and CHECK, PLEASE!; digital-first series FIRSTHAND, URBAN NATURE, and FOODPHILES; and national productions PREHISTORIC ROAD TRIP and NATURE CAT – WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s public media content. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.