William J. Beecher served as the Director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences from 1958 to 1982. An ornithologist by trade -- someone who studies birds -- he was an avid birder, whether in the field or in his back yard. He also had an interest in photography and film.
During his tenure with the Academy, Beecher created educational motion films about local environments and animals that were shared with local groups and museum visitors. Beecher documented many local areas around Illinois, including the Indiana Dunes and Goose Lake Prairie, and was among the first to scientifically document many animal behaviors such as lekking in Prairie Chickens, now an endangered species in Illinois. Here are some still images and a film clip from the motion films created by Beecher in the CAS/PNNM collection.
William Beecher, 1960
Working in the field, 1960
Birds seen during travel to Mweya, Uganda in 1966
People holding up a board with fossils attached. [Fossils appear to be concretions, possibly from the Mazon Creek area in Illinois.] ca.1959-ca.1962
Fox sighting, 1966
Field trip to local prairie, 1968
Great Horned Owl, 1966
Field trip to Goose Lake, 1968
Barred Owl, California,1966
Film clip from "Feb 9/60 Zoogeogr regions mammals skulls upside down", 1960
William Beecher, 1967