Safe Harbor

29 min. sGreen Planet Films. 2017. Schools $59 (PPR). Libraries $39. UPC 714497274072.
Gr 9 Up—There are three sections to this documentary on the tidal environment of Wellfleet Harbor off the coast of Massachusetts. One looks at oysters and their importance to the economy and the ecology of the region; the second touches on horseshoe crabs and their value to science; and the last centers on diamondback terrapin turtles and a group of citizen scientists who work with a local university to study them and aid their population growth. The script is very technical, with unusual terms that are not always defined. Teachers will have to be sure to follow up on topics mentioned as information goes by quickly and is not expanded upon. Some questions can be figured out from context ("spat" are larval oysters and "cultch" is material that oysters attach themselves to), but this is not ideal for a classroom. The photography is fine, although the film is shot in the 4:3 format—almost a square—and looks rather old-fashioned. The musical score and the natural sounds compete with the narration, and the narrator speaks quickly and can be hard to understand. Viewers would do well to keep the subtitles on.
VERDICT Perhaps of interest to schools on Cape Cod or in other Massachusetts towns on the coast to examine what happens in their own backyard, but not recommended for general purchase.

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