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The Cockerell Nature Films: Botanical Films

Rare and Distinctive Collections


Classroom: Norlin N345

Reading Room: Norlin M350B


The Cockerells were also heavily involved in botany. In 1910, for example, Wilmatte found a mutant red sunflower outside her house in Boulder. She carefully collected its seeds and grew several generations of red sunflowers. She would go on to sell the seeds to a variety of distributors and the red sunflower soon became quite popular in the US and abroad.

Many of the botany films are amateur films that were taken around Boulder in people's gardens or of close-ups of flowers.

The Nature School Visits Santa Cruz Island

In The Nature School visits Santa Cruz Island, the Cockerells and other naturalists are shown exploring the island and demonstrating specimen collection techniques including searching for beetles and capturing starfish. T.D.A. Cockerell's work in the Channel Islands documenting the natural history contributed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt designating the Islands as a National Monument in 1938.

Yellow Spiderflower and Pollen under the Microscope

This film is particularly engaging as the yellow lily opens in time-lapsed photography and the pollen, when viewed under the microscope, appears to flow across the screen. It is an example of early film that used scientific equipment like the microscope.