New Library Exhibit Explores Children's Wildlife Literature Over the Past 120 Years

Caption // Photo Credit: Mike McAtee/USFWS

Wolves, owl moons, seed babies, and blueberries for Sal have come to live at the National Conservation Training Center's conservation library for the next year as part of a new exhibition, "Connecting Children to Nature Through American Literature/1890--Today."

Four eras in children's wildlife literature are represented in the colorful and imaginative new foyer display, from Ernest Thompson Seton's "Wild Animals I Have Known" (1899) to Gary Paulsen's contemporary tale, "Hatchet" (1987). Popular writers Robert McCloskey, Holling C. Holling, Rachel Carson, Joseph Cornell, and Jean Craighead George are all represented in the exhibit, along with the National Wildlife Federation's "Ranger Rick" Magazine, popular staple of children in the 1960s.

"Our exhibit expands on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's 'Youth in the Great Outdoors' campaign by highlighting children's nature-themed books that inspired many young conservationists to pursue careers that protect wildlife and natural places," says Anne Post, chief librarian for the National Conservation Training Center.

Says Jan Hummer, NCTC's guest curator for the show, "We've chosen works that foster an awareness of conservation, high emotion, stewardship for natural resources, and respect for the environment." The exhibition was conceived by NCTC's Anne Post and designed by upcoming young NCTC graphic artist John Embrey, and is part of NCTC's participation in the Interior Department's larger initiative to connect the increasingly disconnected younger generation with the out-of-doors and with careers in natural resources.

Intended primarily as an exhibit for students while on the NCTC campus, visitors may view "Connecting Children to Nature Through American Literature" in the evening hours during NCTC's regular monthly conservation lecture series and during its annual open house every October. Auditorium lectures are usually held on weekday evenings at 7:30 p.m. An online window into the new exhibit is now open to children (and adults).

NCTC invites readers and educators to share your memories and educational activities around selected children's works via an online discussion sponsored by the Friends of NCTC.

 -- published --  May 27, 2011
 -- photo credit --  Mike McAtee/USFWS

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