Great Yellowstone Thaw | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 5 Up –The unique ecosystem of Great Yellowstone National Park and the wildlife that survive its extreme temperatures is the focus of this three-part program.
redstarGreat Yellowstone Thaw: How Nature Survives. 3 hrs. PBS. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781531701932.

Gr 5 Up –The unique ecosystem of Great Yellowstone National Park and the wildlife that survive its extreme temperatures is the focus of this three-part program. It begins with the early thaw of March 2016, depicting how climate change impacts much of the wildlife, specifically the grizzlies that hibernate during the freezing winter months. With the early thaw and warmer temperatures, some of the bears leave their dens too early, only to discover they will have a difficult time finding food. What little food they do find can be taken by packs of wolves that are also out foraging. The first episode introduces various wildlife that make Great Yellowstone home, including the great gray owl, otter, and bison. The film highlights specific areas like the Gallatin Mountains, where experts study grizzlies and record movements, noting that the male will leave the den first and the mother and cub will be last. Several wildlife photographers explain the various habits and habitats of wildlife throughout the changing landscape, noting the dangers of consistently hot temperatures. With an early thaw, above-average temperatures, and relentless heat, Yellowstone is threatened by forest fires. The second segment concentrates on the signs of spring, cubs, and the young leaving the nest, as well as the effects of storms and flooding rivers that impact food and feeding habits. The final chapter highlights concerns of wildlife specialists as they observe how the climate of Great Yellowstone is changing and that, for the time being, animals appear to be adapting. VERDICT The relevance of the effects of climate change is reason enough to purchase this film. Combined with a fascinating study of various wildlife in their natural habitats, this is a must-have resource for any school library.–Sheila Acosta, San Antonio Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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