BHP Team

This past summer, the BHP team was looking for a compelling guest to chat with Big History teachers at a meeting in New York City. We were lucky to stumble upon Eric Sanderson from the Wildlife Conservation Society, whose work with the Mannahatta Project overlaps with many themes from the BHP course.

Eric Sanderson at TED Global 2009, New York — before the City

Fast-forward six months, and we’re thrilled to continue to be working with Eric. This month, we’re diving deep into content related to Eric’s work. Take a look at the suite of related materials below, and let us know what you think! Oh – and tune in for an “Exchange” with Eric in the online BHP Teacher Community from January 15-17. He’ll be entertaining questions about his work and research!

“The Old Collect”


This is a passage from Eric’s book Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, which discusses the history of lower-Manhattan’s Collect Pond. The themes that surface are very much what BHP is all about.

View the passage here

BHP Teacher Reflection


New York City-based BHP teacher Scott Henstrand reflects on the importance of the story of the Collect Pond, and offers some guiding questions for you to consider using if you bring this story to your classroom.

Read Mr. Henstrand’s reflection and reading guide

BHP Teacher Activity


In this activity, BHP teacher Scott Collins challenges students to channel their inner “Eric Sanderson” and dig up maps from the past to answer the question, “Why does my community look the way it does?” He provides a case study for the city of Chicago to get you started.

Download Mr. Collins’ activity

Note: This activity is also stored on the BHP website in the Other Materials section of Unit 6.

Cover image: Credit Illustration from “Mannahatta”; photograph by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis.

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