Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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School Lecture and Movie Programs
Nature Bulletin No. 580   November 14, 1959
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Daniel Ryan, President
Roberts Mann, Conservation Editor
David H. Thompson, Senior Naturalist

SCHOOL LECTURE AND MOVIE PROGRAMS
Illustrated lectures to school assemblies have been given by naturalists from our conservation department during the winter months of each school year since 1946. During 1959-60 they will be available again to any school in Cook County, free of charge, from November 16 until March 31. Notices have been mailed to all public and parochial schools for publication in their announcements.

These lectures are an essential part of our outdoor education program. In a sense, they supply the keystone of an arch that bridges a gap between the textbook and things as they exist in nature -- an arch that conducts teachers and their pupils from the classrooms to firsthand experiences in the out-of-doors. They add to the pupils' appreciation and knowledge of natural history, arouse their curiosity, and create a desire to get out and see plants and animals in a natural environment.

As a result, schools are stimulated to make use of other services and facilities we offer, including visits to the nature centers, workshops and one-day field trips for teachers, and field trips taken independently by classes. These other phases of our program limit the period during which naturalists are available for lectures to school assemblies.

Actually, they do not "lecture". The naturalist, with his projector, arrives at a school in advance of the appointed time so that he can report to the office and set up his equipment. He opens the program with a short informal talk about the forest preserves, how to enjoy them, good outdoor manners, and what they will see in the movie. Then he shows 30 minutes of film, in color and with sound. That is followed by a question-and-answer period and he urges the audience to ask questions about what they saw and heard in the film or during past experiences outdoors. His answers are friendly but brief and to the point. If the questions indicate eager interest in nature lore, he will continue as long as time permits.

The questions asked by children are important. They are important to the youngster. To an alert teacher they indicate subjects of special interest, what the pupils want and need to know, and their misconceptions. They guide us in our selection of new films.

Our library of films is extensive and each one, purchased after a critical preview, has a Disney-like quality of fascination. They feature the life histories and habits of animals common in the forest preserves -- birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects; plants; plant and animal communities, with emphasis on their ecological interrelationships and their importance to man; the conservation of soil, water and forests.

The movies shown on each program are appropriate for the age levels of the audience and are selected after reference to our record of all films previously shown at that school. Many schools, both public and parochial, elementary and secondary, have been visited one or more times each year.

These programs give children and teachers an opportunity to see, in action, what they study in natural science, and a chance to ask questions of trained naturalists. They are incited to visit our preserves and see, firsthand, the wildlife that grows, crawls, swims, flies and runs. Then they have fun, adventure, and learn unforgettably. An intangible by- product for the individual will be a fuller richer life.


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