WGBH Openvault

Discovery; Rodent Engineer, The

Approximate date: 1957

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Rodent Engineer, The
Program Number


Series Description

"Discovery," produced by WGBH-TV, aims to make learning about the world in which we live an adventure for young people -- an adventure that opens the doors to ? of scientific knowledge. Living animals and plants become illustrations for what the producers of "Discovery " call "how learnings" -- ? thing causes something else, how change in one situation is related to ? animals are adapted to live in their specific environments, and how plants and man are related to one another. Aiming not only to stimulate intelligent curiosity about the world around us, but hoping also to encourage creative ? on the part of young viewers, emphasis is placed on what the child can do. Guests on the programs include scientific experts as well as boys and girls with science hobbies. The presentations are atraightforward and the demonstrations are interesting and unusual enough to command the attention of upper elementary school students, junior high and even high school biology classes. The producer, writer and narrator of the "Discovery" series is a young woman from North Carolina: Mary Lela Grimes. All of her life she has had nature hobbies such as collecting butterflies, keeping wild pets, naming plants, studying and watching birds. After her graduation as a Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina, she became director of the Durham Children's Museum and wrote a daily column on nature for the Durham Herald Sun. When she and her husband moved to Boston, she joined the staff of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, working on the elementary science teaching program. She also did newspaper, radio and TV for the society and helped organize and direct the Society's Wildwood Nature Camp (?) at Camp Barre, North Carolina. In 1954, Mrs. Grimes was awarded a fellowship to study communications by the National Wildlife Federation. She spent a year at Boston University (where she received her M.S.) and then began working ? in planning science programs for children. It was here that the idea of "Discovery" was born.

Series release date: 1956

Program Description

Series description: "Discovery," produced by WGBH-TV, aims to make learning about the world in which we live an adventure for young people. Directed by Robert Larsen.

Program description: The beaver has long demanded admiration from man. And the beaver has played a big role in the history of America. It was the beaver fur which caused the first opening of much of the Northern wilderness. The work of the beaver itself probably shaped much of the land of the United States. this rodent not only builds dams, but it creates new environments.

the program, through film, will show a beaver dome made in a woodland. The rise in the water level kills off tress and sets the stage for a changing habitat. You will see beavers swimming, feeding, and diving. You will follow along their dam trails made to the food supply. By diagram and models you will study a beaver community, the lodge, and their engineering skills.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Grimes, Mary Lela (Series Producer)
Chicago: “Discovery; Rodent Engineer, The,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 26, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8F3539266DF645649C4EA40CC7D97FE3.
MLA: “Discovery; Rodent Engineer, The.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 26, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8F3539266DF645649C4EA40CC7D97FE3>.
APA: Discovery; Rodent Engineer, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8F3539266DF645649C4EA40CC7D97FE3
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