Thursday, January 8, 2009

Accessible Nature Programmes for Kids

My daughter Demelza and I made a quick science film this time last year. We filmed it with the families digital stills camera (in an unexpected half hour due to a rock to the head which is another story....) and edited it at home. We were inspired to make it for a science film competition for students, the Sleek Geeks Science film competition run through Sydney University. It was a great opportunity for me to work with my daughter, to reinforce her 'story' and to hopefully impart some science appreciation and some understanding of film making. It is called the Fossil Hunters Story and it is self explanatory.......

This is not a professional film, although I enjoy filming and editing I was not trying to achieve professional quality and I am a believer in the additive creative value of teamwork! However the project got me thinking about how kids are very interested in the nature they observe for themselves around themselves, and it is when they are interested that you can get the most engagement and learning. An expert can rattle on about fascinating stuff but it can just fall on deaf ears unless the audience is engaged. But if the interest is there then it is taken on board. Much of the nature programming on television is beautiful and fascinating stuff about things and places most of us will never see or go to. It is nice to watch, interesting to hear about (although usually fairly superficial) and it is escapism. I think there is also a place, especially within kids programming for more accessible nature, the stuff they are able to see and experience if they want to/try to. Kids could tell their nature stories (as in the fossil hunters story) and then we could add to their experience with experts, research and specialist photography. I am working along those lines, watch this space.