Science Night 6/6

Nature Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air at 7 pm
Hummingbirds represent one of nature’s most interesting paradoxes — they are the tiniest of birds, yet they qualify as some of the toughest and most energetic creatures on the planet. New knowledge gained from scientists currently making great breakthroughs in hummingbird biology makes this a perfect time to focus on these shimmering, flashing jewels of the natural world. Stunningly beautiful high-definition, high speed footage of hummingbirds in the wild combined with high-tech presentations of their remarkable abilities help us to understand the world of hummingbirds as we never have before.

Lonesome George and The Battle for the Galapagos Islands at 8:30 pm
George, as he is affectionately known, is a national hero and an emblem of the ongoing struggle to preserve the unique nature of the Galapagos Islands. This special film tells George’s story against the backdrop of the bigger conservation issues faced by these beautiful islands. George’s loneliness is all part of a far bigger picture. The Pinta tortoise has been heavily hunted, and the islands have long been invaded by non-native species which push out the local wildlife. Even tourists, who come here partly to see the famous George, have added to the problems. There is an enormous struggle going on to restore the islands’ unique biodiversity, but not everyone loves George: local fishermen who want to protect their rights to fish in Galapagos’ protected waters have seized on him as a focus for their frustrations.

Into the Wild: Edison, Ford & Friends at 9:30 pm
Between 1914 and 1924, a group of famous friends – prolific inventor Thomas Edison, pioneering auto-maker Henry Ford, best-selling nature writer John Burroughs, and later, tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone – traveled to the remote reaches of Florida’s Everglades in search of a rustic camping adventure far from the pressures of work and the press. Freed from the demands of daily life, the friends and their entourage enjoyed the serendipity of life on the road, stopping to help farmers in the field, examining streams for hydroelectric possibilities or engaging in an impromptu tree-chopping contest. Into the Wild: Edison, Ford & Friends features excerpts from the journals and letters of Burroughs and Firestone as well as interviews with historians and biographers. Combined with historic family photographs, vintage press footage and period music, this half-hour documentary offers insight into the famous friends and a rare glimpse of the men behind their public personas.