Take a virtual tour of seven of the United States’ great national parks with Rice University professor of geology, Dr. Cin-Ty Lee. Walk back in time through the stratigraphy of the Grand Canyon, examine the role of glaciers and climate in shaping the landscapes of Yosemite and Glacier National Parks, and explore the past and present violence of volcanoes in Hawai'i, Yellowstone and Big Bend National Parks. This lecture series will also delve into the unique ecology of some of our national parks, with a close-up tour of the flora and fauna of these parks, from the buffalo and wolves of Yellowstone to the California condors of the Grand Canyon and the alien desert plants of Big Bend National Park. Join the adventure, and experience some of the greatest treasures of the United States.

Content was previously recorded by the instructor (originally released September 29, 2020).

You may also be interested in Dr. Lee’s other prerecorded/on-demand courses in The Nature and Geology of U.S. National Parks series: From Arches to White Sands, From Acadia to Zion and From Crater Lake to the Everglades.

Course Details

Cin-Ty Lee, Ph.D., is the Harry Carothers Wiess Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. His research focuses on volcanoes, continent formation and the making of ore deposits. Dr. Lee is also a lifelong naturalist and has written numerous articles on the field identification of birds. He has dedicated his spare time to documenting the flora and fauna of Rice University, recording 228 species of birds and over 500 species of insects since 2002.

  • The Grand Canyon: Geologic time and the forces of erosion
  • Yosemite: Glaciers, majestic pines and John Muir
  • Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks: Mountains and grizzlies
  • Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park: Islands born from volcanoes
  • Yellowstone: Geysers, supervolcanoes and the American Serengeti
  • Big Bend National Park: From ancient seas to desert landscapes

Online: Pre-recorded / on demand
This course will be delivered in a pre-recorded/on-demand format. Registered participants will receive instructions to access the course page and may view the pre-recorded lectures in any order and as often as preferred. Check Section Notes for access availability.

Enroll Now - Available Sections
Section Title
The Nature and Geology of U.S. National Parks: From Glacier to the Grand Canyon
Section Schedule
Date and Time TBA
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
* $210.00
Section Notes

After registering, please refer to Receipt Notes for instructions on how to access the course. Please email us at cpcoord@rice.edu with questions. The course page will be accessible for 90 days upon registration.


Refund Policy
On demand course registrations are non-refundable. Please review technology requirements here before completing your purchase. View our full refund policy here. If you have questions, please contact us at cpcoord@rice.edu.