A few months back I commissioned up-and-coming filmmakers Neil Losin and Nate Dappen of Day’s Edge Productions to develop an engaging, promotional video for Backyard Naturalists. BYN is a children’s education program whose mission is to inspire a lifelong appreciation of the natural world in children through educational programming that integrates science, art, and technology. This program, which I co-founded in early 2012 with Sonya Carpenter from the Highlands Biological Foundation, is a spin-off of Meet Your Neighbours.
Right from the beginning, I knew that this video needed to be different than the traditional science pitch for children. In addition, both Sonya and I agreed that it needed to contain some useful information that would allow viewers to immediately go out and discover something. Nature is all around us and there is no point speaking only about plants and animals in a far away location to a generation that rarely goes outside anymore. As Robert Michael Pyle writes, “What is the extinction of a condor to a child who has never seen a wren?” While the three tips featured in this short film might be obvious to you and I, to many children nature can be quite daunting and in particular when they’ve never experienced it first-hand.
Finally, I believe that it is important to feature presenters whom kids can relate to or can to look up to. As Niall and I discussed in a recent conversation, there are too many presentations for children featuring scientists with beards looking down over reading-glasses. If we’re ever going to reach kids for nature, at the very least we’re going to have to meet them halfway. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on this video, both good and bad. This is a learning process for me as well! Thanks for watching