George Wallace documentary is rebroadcast
A television documentary on MSU Zoologist George Wallace is to be rebroadcast on WKAR-TV, channel 23, on Tuesday, November 13, at 10:30-11:00p.m. WKAR-TV, channel 23.
The documentary is entitled Environment: Dying to be Heard. It focuses on the research by George Wallace documenting the effect of DDT on robins on the MSU campus. This research was very influential in the early days of the environmental movement, and was featured by Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring.
The documentary was originally broadcast in May, 2007. Following is the original press release from the WKAR Web site: http://wkar.org/enews/story.php?fill=070522/environment
Environment: Dying to Be Heard
Sunday, May 27, at 8 p.m.
May program focuses on environment.
The life and work of MSU ornithologist Dr. George J. Wallace are featuredin Dying to Be Heard, the first documentary in a periodic series titled Environment,and premiering Sunday, May 27, at 8 p.m.
The video project is inspired by an article in EJ Magazine by Jim Detjen,Director and Chair of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at MichiganState University.
The program will be aired on the 100th birthday of the late Rachel Carson, a date celebrated nationwide by environmentalists.
A Student ProductionShot and co-produced with the help of Michigan State University students in variouslocations around the MSU campus last fall, the documentary directed by instructorLou D'Aria focuses on the challenges that Wallace, a professor in zoology atwhat was then Michigan State College, had to overcome to prove the damaging effectsof DDT on MSU's robins and other wildlife.
Wallace's work played a major role in the eventual banning of thepesticide. It was his -- and his students' -- research that was citedin Carson's landmark book, Silent Spring. The Knight Center documentary is a historical look into Wallace's groundbreaking research.
A Collaborative EffortSome of the birds that Wallace and his students collected for study are today housedin the collections of MSU'S museum. Much of the story is told by MSU professorsDr. Richard Snider, Dr. Jim Bingen, and former MSU president Dr. Gordon Guyer.Snider remembers that the robins were dying in great numbers were all over thecampus... "They would just shake and then plop over dead," he recalls.
D'Aria refers to the robins as "collateral damage...damage from a forgotten war,it was a war against nature." Snider had been a student working with Wallace atthe time and recalls the personal and professional criticism heaped upon the professorfor his research.It wasn't until a young Congressman, John Dingell, threatened to withhold federalfunding for Michigan State University unless Wallace's theories were appropriatelyrecognized that he gained the respect he deserved and his message was heard.
"Wallace did it through Rachel Carson," says Snider. "She quoted him all the timeuntil her death."
Not long after Wallace's death, MSU's Dr. Gordon Guyer presented Wallace withan honorary Ph.D. It was accepted by one of Wallace's daughters. Today theUniversity honors Wallace with a scholarship in his and his wife's name.
"The wonderful part of the story is that we were able to involve students notonly from journalism and telecommunications, but the College of Music as wellas fisheries and wildlife. All but one student worked for no credit," says D'Aria,adding they also worked with professors in zoology, and natural resources,as well as the MSU Museum and the Michigan State Archives.
The original score is composed by Michigan State University College of Music graduate student Kevin Wilt.
Environment is a production of the Knight Center. Future programs will be featured at the end of each fall and spring semester.