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"Show 305" Guide & Resources

The black-footed ferret became extinct in 1981 -- or so it was believed. In this episode of Frontiers we see how the critters have been rescued from the edge of extinction. We consider a new aspect of modern-day sailing -- who would have thought it would have therapeutic benefits? And, in what might be the most dramatic story this season, surgeons in a Pittsburgh hospital perform experimental surgery on the heart using the patient's own back muscle.

Here are the topics and running times of the stories on this show and a brief description of related activities in this online teaching guide:

  • Rescuing the Black-Footed Ferret (running time: 10:52) -- Biologists take an ambitious approach to saving this endangered species. Activity: Create a board game that simulates the hazards of life in the wild for ferrets.
    Report from the Field: Biologist Patrick Hnilicka.

  • "Muscle-Wrap" Heart Surgery (running time: 11:09) -- Experimental surgery uses the body's own back muscle to salvage a damaged heart. Activity: Test your heart IQ.
    Report from the Field: Ignacio Y. Christlieb, M.D.

  • Sailing Therapy (running time: 11:44) -- At a rehab center in France, the therapeutic benefits of sailing are explored. Activity: Design a product for a person with special needs.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.