Ode to Sir David Attenborough

For years, Sir David Attenborough has been entertaining and educating audiences everywhere about the natural world. Now, teachers are paying tribute to the environmentalist. Says Molly Josephs, who teaches Biology at the Dalton School in Manhattan, New York: “I have a secret weapon of inspiration – a clandestine co-teacher named Sir David Attenborough.

“Over the course of the year, my students wander through deserts with chameleons and in Brazilian rainforests with pygmy geckos, scream with laughter at the aggressive openmouthed territory battles of the appropriately named sarcastic fringehead fish and squirm while watching a naked, slimy, hairless inchlong foetal kangaroo climb into its mother’s pouch. When used to illustrate a point, these truncated video clips are priceless teaching tools. It is much harder to forget a concept when you’ve personally witnessed an example of it.”

Attenborough recently spoke out against new legislation at the launch of the Society of Biology, an organisation set up to promote the biological sciences. He was complaining about new legislation passed in the UK to prevent the public from removing flora and fauna from the land.

“Collecting and identifying is a basic instinct in children,” said Attenborough. “It is very sad that legislation should have been passed so it is now illegal to collect bird’s eggs. It is also illegal to collect butterflies and certain wild flowers. There are restrictions on collecting fossils.”

The laws have been passed to prohibit the trade of endangered plants and creatures, said a spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK (Defra), who said: “It is important to help preserve an important part of our heritage.”

Category: Winter 2012

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