Educator Program A
Rainforests: a Primer for Teachers (29:43)

The two Educator programs, or In-Service Videos, are designed to:

1) familiarize teachers with some of the key scientific concepts addressed by PASSPORT TO THE RAINFOREST
2) provide a background on the people and places seen in the Student or Classroom videos, and
3) show demonstrations by master teachers of some of the Hands-On Activities

Educator program A begins with:
a welcome from P2K Project Director, Geoff Haines-Stiles, and an Introduction to the Module and our primary locations in the heart of the rainforest, followed by 4 additional sections:
1) Introduction to Amazonia
2) A Guided Tour of the Forest
3) The Smithsonian / INPA "Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project"
4) The Value of Rainforests

Educator Program A: details

1) "Welcome" runs from 00:00 to 02:54. It notes that rainforests run in a band round Earth's Equator, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. We travel out to "Camp 41" close to Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil and meet some of the Smithsonian-INPA researchers. (You may find this short two and a half minute sequence may also be of interest to students before you begin the Opening Activities.)

From 02:45-03:37 you will find a Table of Contents for both Educator programs.

2) "Introduction to Amazonas" (03:47 through 10:07, with a segment time of 6:20.) Some of the "records" held by the Amazon region are cited, including the flow rate of the river and its immense breadth. Ecologist Susan Laurance says that working in such a place is also immensely exciting, because it's one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. The river shapes weather along its banks, and the forest and the river together impact climate across South America. But (as students will see in Program 3, Niches and Species) the Amazon is, in fact, a place with great local and regional variation, from the lowland terrafirme forest, which never floods, to forests which are seasonally covered by water. The program describes the different colors and composition of the distinctive black- and white-water rivers, and the large city of Manaus, home base for our team of rainforest researchers. Claude Gascon describes how inhabitants of the region depend on the river as a major source of protein from fish and says that the continued existence of the rainforest is critical to the health of the river and nearby communities.

"Rainforests Around the World" (10:07-15:43, a total of 05:36) Narration and comments from the researchers note some of the key characteristics of all rainforests, including the great variety of species. Susan Laurance describes a lesser-known aspect of rainforests-the way in which some of the different species, such as plants and ants, live in mutualistic relationships, each benefiting from the other. Then-head of the Smithsonian project, Tom Lovejoy-a noted conservation biologist, now Environmental Counselor with the World Bank-makes the important point that in virgin rainforests, despite their biodiversity, it's in fact hard to see lots of large creatures: everything is hiding from everything else! He suggests you have to wait and let your eyes and mind attune to the subtleties of the forest. Susan describes the forest as a place where some plants-the "epiphytes," or air plants-survive by piggy-backing on other trees, riding up to the light they need without having to grow their own woody structures.

3) "A Guided Tour of the Forest" (15:43-20:24, running 04:41) Susan and Tom add more specifics about canopy, mid- and understory, and the different creatures who live in each level. One study found that in 10 hectares of tropical rainforest there were more than 700 species of tree, more than in the entire continental United States. Leaf-cutter ants are some of the most unique rainforest creatures, sometimes traveling over 300 meters in a single night, up to and down from the canopy, in search of leaves on which they can cultivate the fungus which is their food. By seeing which leaves the ants choose not to harvest, says Lovejoy, you can find out what plants have natural fungicides which may have considerable value for medicine or agriculture.

4) The Smithsonian / INPA "Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project" (20:24-23:10, 02:46) Lovejoy describes how the BDFFP project began as a way to provide solid data to help determine the optimal size of parks and national preserves designed to help conserve rainforest species. Susan Laurance points out how different fragmented forests are from untouched forest: more light spills onto the ground, and there are more dead trees, and more wild vegetation making it hard to walk through them. Lovejoy concludes by arguing that by offering "before" and "after" comparisons and experimental controls BDFFP is truly the largest and most rigorous ecological experiment, ever.

At 23:10 the program offers snapshot introductions to some of the researchers students will encounter in the course of the series.

5) "The Value of Rainforests" (26:37-end) Susan, Claude and Tom describe some of their feelings about the rainforest. They eloquently argue that letting rainforests be destroyed is like having a rare and valuable book and burning it before reading it. It's equivalent to trashing the "library of life", full of valuable information for all of us. "Each species is a set of solutions to a set of biological problems, any one of which can have very practical uses, but which can also help develop the (life) sciences generally." Lovejoy concludes by making the point that rainforest researchers love what they're doing, and that whatever their chronological age, their excitement and enthusiasm keeps them young: "Science is just a way of being a kid your entire life."

Educator program B

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