On the range
No one was having buffalo dreams when it came to the agriculture
curriculum of the vocational education program in the North Dakota
school system. That is, until Wayne Buchholz, a Bowman County bison
rancher and North Dakota Buffalo Association board member, had an
Mr. Buchholz thought North Dakota young people needed exposure to the bison industry, which is growing at an annual rate of 15 percent to 20 percent in the state. (For the purposes of Mr. Buchholz's group, "bison" and "buffalo" are synonymous.)
The association boasts that 24,000 bison now reside in the state, where at the beginning of the decade there were only a straggling few bovid ruminants to be found.
"We decided we wanted to open minds and generate interest in the industry," said the buffalo association's president, Monte Allen, "and sometimes the only way to expose people to new ideas is through young people in the schools."
In August, the new curriculum--which examines the animal's importance to the American Indian culture, along with technical aspects of production and marketing--was presented to instructors from 78 state schools.
Tapping into the roller coaster lives of adolescents seemed like a compelling premise for a new television series to documentarian R.J. Cutler.
To capture the drama of everyday high school life, the producer--whose resume includes nominations for an Oscar and an Emmy--gave video cameras to 10 students from the 1,600-student Highland Park High School in suburban Chicago.
The agreement that allows Mr. Cutler's camera crews to tromp through the hallways includes creation of a program at the school to teach documentary production.
"We hoped that those students interested in film-making could have firsthand experience," said Linda Hanson, the superintendent of 2,950-student Township High School District 113.
Ms. Hanson added that she hopes the series will "show a side of our young people the public doesn't often see."
For now, "the excitement has been replaced with a serious look at how a documentary is made," she said.
The series is set to air next fall on the Fox Television Network.
--Meghan Mullan & Michelle Galley
Vol. 19, Issue 10, Page 3