Television Series Over the past decade, more and more nature programs are being produced for television. The interest shown by the public in these programs is growing. Some of these programs are described below, and special films on wildlife are reviewed in the Films section.
Discovery Communications Inc., which sponsors the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and other channels, shows many hours of natural history films each week. Animal Planet shows animal programs exclusively, some of which deal with endangered species. The channel has been very successful, and the new National Geographic channel has many wildlife and environmental documentaries. Other than the occasional National Geographic Society special aired on NBC, major networks do not have regular prime-time programs on the environment or wildlife. By contrast, PBS airs regular programs on these subjects. These programs, including Nature, NOVA, David Attenborough's Natural World and others, have been shown for decades, as PBS led the way in airing high quality, informative and beautiful programs on wildlife and natural history.
Animal Rescue. Syndicated.
This one-half hour weekly program gives many examples of people helping animals or, in some cases, animals helping other animals through various crises. Moose and deer that have fallen into freezing water are pulled to safety, oiled birds, injured turtles and starving sea lions are rescued and rehabilitated, and there are many stories about help for stranded or injured pets and domestic animals. Veterinary care is described, and much interesting information is given about positive examples of humane treatment of animals. At the end of the program, ARK gives general tips about helping animals
Assignment Discovery. Discovery Channel.
On weekdays during the school year, this one‑hour program is shown between 9 and 10 a.m., with a format designed especially for teachers to tape for use throughout the year. At least once a week, a program is dedicated to natural science. Commercials have been removed and the programs contain highlights from prime-time programs. Web page: www.discovery.com. There are also species sites such as "Lizards!": www.discovery.com/exp/lizards/lizards.html
National Geographic Explorer. MSNBC.
This weekly two-hour program highlights films by the National Geographic Society, as well as those of other film producers. Many of these films deal with endangered species and wildlife conservation. Some are distributed commercially by the National Geographic Society, but the majority is not commercially available. This program has an Internet page for more information on specials and programs shown: www.nationalgeographic.com
One of the finest wildlife and natural history programs on television, Nature has high‑quality photography, well-written and interesting narrative, and often, unusual subject material. Produced by WNET, the PBS station in New York, films produced by the British Broadcasting Co. (BBC), Survival Anglia, Partridge Films, Wolfgang Bayer and other producers are shown. The weekly one-hour programs are repeated. See reviews below. They are available from PBS (see Distributors list).
Produced by WGBH in Boston, MA, these one-hour films have garnered many awards. Programs relate to wildlife conservation, astronomy, sociology and many other subjects. Some NOVA films have centered on endangered species and habitats, such as the Great Barrier Reef and condors. They may be taped for classroom use within seven days of broadcast. Videocassettes of the programs are available. NOVA teacher's guide, a semi‑annual publication, presents discussions of the programs with quizzes and lesson plans. This may be subscribed to at www.pbs.org/nova/teachers/guidesubscribe.htmp or viewed on line at http://main/wgbh.org/wgbh/learn/teacherscenter. This site provides major projects, partner schools, professional development workshops and favorite links. The printed copy can be ordered from WGBH, 125 Western Avenue, Boston, MA 02134. Videocassettes can be ordered from: WGBH NOVA Videos, P.O. Box 2284, South Burlington, VT 05407‑2284.
Today. National Geographic Channel.
This daily, hour-long program reviews natural history news, including some longer reports on endangered species and programs to aid them as well as environmental items of interest. The program also has items that are reflective of its magazine content, such as profiles of native tribes, country highlights and geography. It is the only such program on television since "Earth Matters," CNN's excellent weekly environmental news program, was cancelled.