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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Update: June 2012