Jim Dunlap is Director of the Outdoor Learning Center for the Plano Independent School District. Jim is a recognized, respected authority on animals and has spent years teaching the value of a close relationship between Man and the creatures of the animal kingdom. Mr. Dunlap is the author of 5 books, host of the cable television show AnimalsAnimals, and author of a weekly magazine column for the Plano Star Courier.
"I have worked with Jim Dunlap since 1983. I appreciate his concern for the well-being of animals and their habitat and his missionary-like zeal in teaching others about man's relationship with the animal kingdom. The book's title, They Don't Have to Die, both illustrates Jim's concern and aptly summarizes the book's content."
Jim Fowler, Host - Wild Kingdom
"Jim Dunlap's attitude toward his animal friends always matches his feelings for human friends. He treats all of God's creatures with respect and care. And he educates us along the way."
Jerry Haynes, Host - Children's Syndicated Television Show, Peppermint Place
The Living Materials Center began as an experiment. In 1976, high school teacher Jim Dunlap was looking for a way to interest his high school students in biology. "I found that you cannot teach if students do not listen. They will not listen unless you hold their attention. Animals hold their attention." The popularity of his class grew so steadily, he had to relocate the class to bigger quarters every few years.
In 1979, Jim and his menagerie were moved down into the basement. He began a program of visiting other classes with this, that and the other animal instead of having his own regular class schedule. In 1983, the class was relocated to four classrooms on the high school's second floor. Four
years later, it was time to expand again. The student population increased dramatically and expansion required a search for other quarters.
A bond proposal was passed to cover the construction, and create a home base for both the Living Materials Center and the Outdoor Learning
Center as they exist today. The facillity is on the northern edge of town where he and an untold number of creatures currently reside or are fostered until they can be returned to the wild or moved on to more appropriate accomodations. Frequently the Living Materials Center is home to more than 150 small animals ranging from crawling insects to monkeys.
Jim Dunlap has been teaching in the Plano ISD for
26 / 28 / 30 years... a really long time. Because Jim travels into local schools and takes animals with him as teaching tools, his classroom can be as small as one class or as big as a whole school.
Somewhere along the way, Jim's fame grew to a point that not only were other school systems seeking his live animal presentations, but he soon became a regular on Peppermint Place with the "Backyard Zoo" segment. You can still see Jim on the show even though Jerry Haynes (Mr. Peppermint) retired from the show in '95. It is now syndicated and may be caught in rerun. In the D/FW area you may see it on WFAA Channel 8, usually at some outrageous a.m. hour. (Check local listings, it could be as early as 5:00 a.m.) He currently hosts the cable show AnimalsAnimals on Plano/Richardson local cable. Mr. Dunlap also writes a weekly column for the Plano Star Courier.
Jim has a peculiar sense of humor. He relishes word play and (as he calls them) "groaners". You know, jokes so bad that you just want to curl up on the floor because they make your stomach hurt. His love for humor and animals makes him a very entertaining speaker. Watch for Jim at book signings or driving down the road with alligators and pythons hanging out of the back of his vehicle.