January 1st, 2000 - April 30th, 2003 | PROJECT

WGBH Educational Foundation is producing a four-hour documentary special, "Fire," to be broadcast as a NOVA special. The series will present the story of fire as an important but often overlooked key to understanding the natural world and our shared environmental history. Humans have used fire in virtually every aspect of our existence: for heat and light, as a tool and a source of power, for the private rituals of spiritual life and the monumental reshaping of entire landscapes. Fire acts as a significant agent of change in our world today, and the interaction of fire and humans is now acknowledged as a significant part of global climate change research and of biodiversity and ecosystem health studies. Fire will examine these and other powerful and fundamental scientific questions related to fire being explored today. The project will integrate fire history with an understanding of the scientific principles of fire chemistry and behavior, and it will link that knowledge with ecology, agriculture, forestry and resource management. An integrated outreach campaign will accompany the television series. It will be built around a resource kit, offered in both print and CD-ROM formats, with activities and other resources for families and youth organizations at the late elementary and early middle school level. There also will be special web pages within NOVA's award-winning web site that will include the "Fire" resource kit materials. The PI and Series Producer will be Judith Vecchione whose credits include the NSF-supported series on women scientists today, "Discovering Women." Paula Apsell, Executive Producer for NOVA, will be Executive-in-Charge. The Film Director will be Kirk Wolfinger whose prior NOVA productions include "Submarine!," "Titanic's Lost Sister," "Daredevils of the Sky," and "To the Moon." The Series Senior Advisor is Stephen J. Pyne, Professor of History at Arizona State University. Dr. Pyne is an environmental historian and author of the five-book "Cycle of Fire" suite. Other advisors include: Norman L. Christensen, Dean of the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke University; Johann Georg Goldammer, Senior Scientist and leader of the Fire Ecology and Biomass Burning Research Groups of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry; Robert Huggins, Servicewide Education Coordinator for the National Park Service; Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago; Marcella Russell, Regional Liaison for the Massachusetts Parent Involvement Project; and Brian Stocks, Senior Fire Research Scientist at the Canadian Forest Service.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Judith Vecchione, Principal Investigator, WGBH
Barbara Flagg, Evaluator, Multimedia Research


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9909501
Funding Amount: 571170


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Climate | Ecology | forestry | agriculture | History | policy | law | Life science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Community Outreach Programs | Media and Technology | Public Programs