________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number VIII . . . . August 4, 1995

Great Northern Forest

Karvonen Films/National Film Board of Canada, 1994.
VHS, 48 minutes, $26.95. Closed-Captioned.
Distributed by the NFB, P.O. Box 6100, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, PQ, H3C 3H5
Fax: (514) 496-2573/ Phone: 1-800-267-7710

Subject Headings:
Environment and Conservation.
Northern Canada.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Lorrie Andersen.

The Great Northern Forest is a 48-minute production examining the flora, fauna, and majesty of the boreal forest. In spectacular photography, the video follows the activity in the forest through the four seasons. Spruce, fir, pine, aspen, and birch trees grow in this northern region and make a home the beaver, loon, bear, moose, timber wolf, and many other animals and birds. The photography is superb; particularly outstanding are the underwater sequences showing the beaver kits at home with their parents in the beaver lodge.
This beautiful wilderness is depicted through the changing seasons, but the film-maker reminds the viewers at the end of this visual treat that the glorious richness and diversity of this landscape is under threat -- threat from environmental damage as a result of human mining and industrial pursuits. The film-maker devotes no more than three or four minutes to this urgent message, but it's a message that viewers feel keenly nonetheless.
The Great Northern Forest could be compared favourably to another award-winner, the Manitoba production Spirit Sands (Whiteway Films, 1993), which examines the natural history of the glacial-laid sand dunes in a little-known area of Manitoba.
For curricular application in a classroom a 48-minute production is long. A teacher could break the presentation into four segments by season, but the unity of the production would be lost. But Karvonen Films is planning to re-issue the video under selected animal themes -- possibly the beaver, black bear, and the wolf -- which would extend the classroom use to elementary grades studying these topics. These shorter, more specific units would be most welcome.

Winner of the following awards:

Best Musical Score, Best Overall Sound, and Best Editing, Alberta Film and Television Awards.
Canadian Notables 94, Canadian Library Association Conference.
Highly recommended.

A librarian by training, Lorrie Andersen is Collection Development Consultant, Instructional Resources, for Manitoba Education and Training.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364