Biodiversity: Life in the Balance

June 1st, 1998 - May 31st, 2002 | PROJECT

Blue Mountain Films, in association with the American Museum of Natural History, is producing a multi-component project on biodiversity that will examine closely the risks we face if the web of life on Earth is progressively diminished. The central component of the project will be a large format film that seeks to locate and understand humans' place in, and impact upon, the natural order of life on this planet. The film will be based on what appears to be a critical paradox: while we humans, like all living things, have always been dependent upon natural systems for our survival, our unique cultural development and technological prowess have convinced us that we are somehow "above" nature. As a corollary theme, the Life in the Balance film will examine the urgency of the scientific effort to explore and understand ecosystems and the flora and fauna they contain before their unique genetic information is lost due to human actions. In addition, the film will convey an appreciation of how science actually is done in the field. The film will be augmented by: * The Life in the Balance Bookshelf of material currently being developed by the new National Center at the American Museum of Natural History: * Biodiversity: An Action Guide aimed at encouraging children and their families to explore together topics and issues surrounding biodiversity. * Teacher's Curriculum-Biodiversity Counts designed as a middle school-based activity that encourages students to engage in scientific exploration and discover the diversity of species in their own neighborhoods. * Book of Essays designed as a resource book for high school students and their teachers. * Teacher/Educator's Guide consisting of hands-on science activities that can be used independently of the film and as preparation for viewing and/or following screenings of the film. * Life in the Balance "Interactive" Poster with a four-color acetate overlay of pictures which, wen pulled away, reveals a seco nd sheet with science information. * Fun Facts Brochure with biodiversity facts and questions presented in a simple, fun fashion, such as quizzes and games. * Life in the Balance Website feature family activities, an extinction conference section, and a bio-bulletin. * Life in the Balance National Training Institute, a 10 day workshop brining together teams of science educators from community organizations, schools, and science centers and museums. The PI and producer/director/writer of the film will be Bayley Silleck who served in these same roles for the Cosmic Voyage film. The Co-PI and producer will be Jeffrey Marvin. The principal scientist will be Thomas Eisner, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Chemical Ecology at Cornell University. This production team will work closely with an advisory committee that includes Jane Lubchenco, Peter H. Raven, Edward O. Wilson, Andrew Peter Dobson, Myles Gordon, Mary Elizabeth Murray-Wilson, and Lee Schmitt.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Bayley Silleck, Principal Investigator, Blue Mountain Film Associates, Inc.
Jeffrey Marvin, Co-Principal Investigator, Blue Mountain Film Associates, Inc.
Thomas Eisner, Co-Principal Investigator, Cornell University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9804616
Funding Amount: 2055376


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Nature of science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Films and IMAX | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops