For March the history blog of the month is The Otter – La Loutre. Any website that mixes articles on the history of the guinea pig with one on pipeline history is hard not to like. The Otter fills a real gap for social studies teachers. There is so little readily available that gives nature a past.
The website is the work of a Canadian-based network of researchers and educators who share an interest in nature and the past. Those interests are diverse. Recent blog posts include Darcy Ingram on the evolution of animal rights and welfare and “Indian Residential Schools: An Environmental and Gender History” by Jocelyn Thorpe.
When I read Claire Campbell’s article recognizing the 40th anniversary of the almost forgotten Berger Report, I was reminded of William Faulkner’s remark that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” There is so much of Thomas Berger’s Report that can cast a light on important questions for contemporary Canada. As the author says, “I don’t want to unduly heroize Berger, but he got a lot of this right. His insistence on ecological protection reads as if from an alternate (wistfully, preferable) reality. His articulation of aboriginal rights anticipated by decades the language of reconciliation.”
So many students who care about history care about the environment. This website can inform social studies and science teachers at all grade levels and would be accessible and engaging for some secondary students.