Ria Dunkley, a social researcher at Cardiff’s Sustainable Places Research Institute, has a recent post on the SciSCREEN blog discussing David Bond’s recent film Wild Thing.

The post begins:

“I grew up in a village in mid-Wales and spent a considerable amount of time in the town, but that town was Aberystwyth and Aberystwyth looks out at the sea.  My house was separated from that sea by a 120-meter Iron Age hill fort.  My grandfather was a farmhand and many a weekend were spent in the rural hamlet where my grandparents lived, hanging around cowsheds, and jumping in hay bales or into the nearby river. The natural world was a crucial play space when I was a child.  I always wanted to be outside.  I once even walked the 25 miles from my home in Aberystwyth to my grandparents’ home in Llanfair Clydogau, such was my love of being and especially walking in the outdoors.  So naturally, like David Bond, creator of Project Wild Thing, I wish all future children to have the same experiences as I did.  I want them to experience the joys of outdoor play, to jump in rivers, to visit farms and run through forests.”

And ends:
“Parental desire for children to spend more time outdoors ‘in nature’, as the creator of Project Wild Thing expresses, is perhaps nothing new.  Yet getting children outdoors is perhaps not the panacea to social and environmental ills that it is, within the film, imagined to be.  If we take a leaf out of Latour’s book and think about what thinking about exposing the links between nature and humans means in terms of developing an ‘eco-pedagogy’ (Kahn 2010), we begin to see that it might be necessary to meet children and young people where they are.  This might involve witnessing how they already interact with nature, in ways that adults perhaps do not see.  This may be in the ‘edgelands’ of canal towpaths and parks, dens and wastelands.  In these accessible spaces, as well as within homes and classrooms, we might find interesting ways of approaching environmental learning with children and young people.”

In between you will find a thoughtful consideration of the issues we face if more young people are to spend more of their time in and around nature.  It may give us all pause for some thought about the nature of nature, and where it can be found these days.

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