Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Radio Nature League (1927 January to April)

Note: Burgess was absent on April 6, presumably because of lecture obligations. (He was scheduled to give a talk in Lewiston, ME on April 7 and at Bowdoin College--sponsored by Alfred Gross--on April 8.)

January-April 1927

The winter of 1927 featured a full slate of speakers:
  • January 12: Charles W. Johnson on "Some Common Insects of the Household."
  • January 26: Francis Harper on chipmunks (talk is included in script)
  • February 9: J.A. Cushman on "Fossils, how they are formed and their value to man." (talk is included)
  • February 23: William H. Weston Jr. on "Beliefs of certain peoples in connection with plants and plant life."
  • March 9: Glover M. Allen on "Whales and Whaling in New England." (talk is included)
  • March 23: James L. Peters on hawks and owls. (talk is included)
  • March 30: A.F. Burgess of the U.S. Bureau of Entomology on moths. (talk is included)
  • April 6: Austin H. Clark paper on "Living Lamps." Burgess was absent this day. The paper--included--was read, presumably by A.E. Bach, the announcer in the studio.
  • April 13: Edward Wigglesworth of the Boston Society of Natural History on "Household Aquaria." (talk included)
  • April 20: Philip Hansling Jr. on "The Care and Preservation of Trees." (talk included, with TWB edits)
The relationship between Burgess and the final speaker (not associated with the Boston Society of Natural History) would be an enduring one. Hansling, a Hartford tree surgeon, would be invited back to speak and answer questions repeatedly over the next few years and even substitute host at least one show.

There was a special program on February 2 broadcast live from the New England Sportsmen Show in Boston. The show, part of "Conservation Week" (Jan 29-Feb 5) in Massachusetts, was reportedly the first one in New England in more than two decades. (Burgess praised Governor Alvin Fuller on January 12 for this week set aside "to emphasize the need of guarding forests, streams and game."). The show attracted exhibitions, some featuring live animals, from many states and Canadian provinces. (TWB argued that the show, was more of a "conservation exposition" than a celebration of hunting). Burgess had promoted the show beginning on January 19, announcing a special invitation to children and their teachers to attend the opening ceremonies. On the February 2 show, he dramatized his experiences in Northern Canada, using the talents of animal callers George and Jim McLeod to create the scene.

On February 16, Burgess commenced the second annual crusade against tent caterpillars. This time he would promise cash prizes. By the end of the crusade in mid-March, the procession of caterpillars-laid end to end--would reach the middle of the Pacific starting at the Boston State House.

Finally, April 20 brought a new enduring conservation concern: The automobile. Cars kill animals on the road and provide hunters with more access to remote locations. Over the next few years the charges against the automobile would grow to include the increase in forest fires (from cigarette flipped from car windows) and the increase in bird-killing feral house cats (driven far from home and abandoned).

Next: Radio Nature League (1927 May through December)

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