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New Documentary on Children & Nature

Nov 21, 2010 07:36PM ● By Erin Frisch

Nature Movie

Premiering at the Loew Theater in the Hood Museum in Hanover on January 12, the new documentary, Mother Nature’s Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age, looks at how nature—an increasingly rare influence on today’s children—is absolutely essential to their health and development. The film looks at three main phases of childhood—toddlers, middle childhood, and adolescence—and nature’s role in each.

The purpose of the film is to give hope and to inspire action to get our children out of doors. “The tide has moved quickly to keep children indoors for a variety of reasons that didn’t exist when I was growing up,” says Burlington filmmaker Camilla Rockwell. “Mother Nature’s Child will highlight this time when one generation can still recall what it was like to roam the neighborhood in free outdoor play. This has changed so rapidly that we are just beginning to discover the symptoms of ‘nature deficit.’”

The film focuses on ways that nature supports cognitive and physical development, creativity, emotional balance, and spiritual awareness. “We are also looking at the obstacles to nature connection for inner city populations, the parent fears that keep children indoors, and the place of risk-taking in healthy human development, the important role of nature mentoring. It’s been a fascinating learning curve for us,” says Rockwell. Her intent is to provide parents, teachers, and grassroots organizations with a tool to promote discussion, further investigation, and stimulate sharing of best practices for those who raise, educate, and mentor children.

Rockwell spent a year researching the film and then teamed with co-producer Wendy Conquest of Hanover, New Hampshire, to complete major filming this fall. This film has a number of local connections—in addition to Conquest, cinematographer Michael Sacca is also from the Upper Valley, and the film features people and places from the Upper Valley. The crew shot in the Pomfret Vermont School and on the Norwich side of the Connecticut River, and the film features a young girl who is a deer hunter from Thetford, Vermont.

Interested viewers can see an eight-minute sample of Mother Nature’s Child at the Children & Nature Network website,

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