National Geographic : 1994 Sep
On Television What Every Naturalist Under Five Should Know Stories gently told acquaint young children with the natu ral world in National Geo graphic's new home video series, GeoKids. Planned especially for preschoolers, the videos put the emphasis on facts conveyed through music, poetry, and puppetry. "We saw a void in video program ming available for very young chil dren," says Society President Gil Grosvenor. "GeoKids reaches children at an early stage and com municates a value the Society has always stood for-respect for nature through increased awareness." Three characters help children develop a sense of kinship with wild animals. Sunny Honeypossum, far right, Bobby Bushbaby, and their wise uncle figure, Balzac de Chameleon, touch children's need for companionship. "I searched for creatures that would be both unfamiliar and charming to children," says creator Hank Saroyan. The three puppet friends live in a magical forest of plants from all over the world. With the help of an animated, sneezy flamingo named Francisco -he's allergic to feath ers-Sunny, Bobby, and Balzac introduce children to many forms of life, from scurrying leaf-cutting ants to wobbly infant zebras. Making use of the Geographic's extensive live-action-film library, the videos show adult animals caring for their babies, young hippos learn ing to walk, and beavers building dams. The first three videos are "Flying, Trying, and Honking Around," "Bear Cubs, Baby Ducks, and Kooky Kookaburras," and "Cool Cats, Raindrops, and Things That Live in Holes." Andrew Wilk, vice president of programming, says, "We've packed in an enormous amount of informa tion. Like Really Wild Animals videos for children five through ten- GeoKids can be watched over and over, with something new understood each time." GeoKids is available through National Geographic Home Video and in video stores nationwide. The Family That Preys Together fledgling Harris' hawk practices flying in and out of the nest (left), which is cradled in the giant arms of a saguaro cactus. Soon the youngster will join other family members as they gather each winter morning in the Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest, divide into hunting parties, and search for prey like jackrabbits or rats. "They hunt together much like a wolf pack," says Univer sity of Arizona ornithologist James Dawson. Dawson served as a consultant to wildlife cinematographer Michael Rich ards, who produced EXPLORER's "Wolves of the Air." This first full-length program to focus on Harris' hawks reveals the highly developed social organization of this bird of prey-a rare phenomenon in the avian world. With a repertoire of tactics such as relay chase, flush and ambush, and encirclement, Harris' hawks take the combina tion of raptor hunting skills and teamwork to new levels. EXPLORER's "Wolves of the Air" broadcasts Sunday, September 25, at9 p.m. ET on TBS Superstation. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICEXPLORERAIRS ON TBS SUPERSTATION,SUNDAYS AT9 P.M . ET. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSPECIALSAIR ON PBS; CHECKLOCALLISTINGS. FOR INFORMATIONON NATIONALGEOGRAPHICVIDEOS, CALL1-800 -343-6610, MONDAYTHROUGHFRIDAY, 8 A.M. TO 8 P.M. ET, IN THE U. S. ANDCANADAONLY.