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Published in Print: October 24, 2001, as Media

Media

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Nature Online: The video equivalent of an intriguing and wonderful nature guidebook has just been placed on the Web, thanks to the combined efforts of nearly 30 public-television stations nationwide.

Nature Online: The video equivalent of an intriguing and wonderful nature guidebook has just been placed on the Web, thanks to the combined efforts of nearly 30 public-television stations nationwide.

The American Field Guide, as the online collection is called, offers more than 1,200 documentary video clips—more than 130 hours' worth—exploring facets of the natural world. And each clip comes with advice for educators on how to use it in their teaching.

The mini-documentaries, which originally aired on public TV, include sea turtles hatching in Texas, a trip by kayakers down Washington state's White Salmon River, and an interview with a naturalist who documented 300 species of plants and flowers at Kentucky's Mammoth Cave.

The content is organized into eight major categories: animals, ecosystems, human history, livelihoods, Earth and space, plants, public policy, and recreation.

The clips can be viewed at www.pbs.org/afg.

An accompanying computer window presents the chosen documentary's complete transcript, which computer users can click on to skip to different parts of the video.

Many of the video stories are notable for their local flavor. "They came from all these local TV stations, by people documenting what they know, literally, in their backyards," said Kevin Dando, a spokesman for the Alexandria, Va.-based Public Broadcasting Service, the nonprofit media company owned by 346 public-television stations.

PBS will continue to expand the online resource, which will be a permanent fixture on the organization's Web site, Mr. Dando said. Although educators and students can view the videos online, PBS will not allow people to download the material.

Jack Galmiche, the executive vice president of Oregon Public Broadcasting, which helped produce the guide, said in a statement that the video series represents what "educators expect from public television."

—ANDREW TROTTER atrotter@epe.org

Vol. 21, Issue 8, Page 13

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