Kids and Wildlife – A Perfect Big Screen Combination

NWF   |   April 10, 2006

As a young boy, my two brothers and I spent much of our free time playing in a forested area called Fox Ridge twelve George_bob_larry_and_sandy miles north of Pittsburgh.

It was our world. We knew every tree in the woods, every riffle in Girty’s Run and every brush pile where the rabbits and pheasants hid.

I remember the day when we learned that the ridge was slated for a housing development. The surveyors worked by day staking the place for streets, sewers and houses. By night, we pulled their stakes.

We eventually lost the battle. The Fox Ridge we know is gone. Earth-moving pans and bulldozers have obliterated it. The top of the ridge was cut off and the valleys were filled. Girty was channelized. We were wrong to pull the stakes but that incident and the subsequent loss of our childhood world was the beginning of a career in conservation for me.

I was reminded of my youthful protest when I learned about a proposed film called “HOOT.” The National Wildlife Federation, Walden Media, and New Line Cinema have teamed up to connect kids and families with wildlife through the engaging film “HOOT,” based on the Newbery Honor-winning book by Carl Hiaasen. In this funny, fast-paced new movie, three Florida middle school students fight to save a group of endangered burrowing owls nesting on the property where a brand new Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House is about to be built. It is a great film for the whole family and a reminder that we can make a difference for wildlife if we are willing to take a stand.