Explore the Woods is a project created at the University of Cumbria where a short length documentary film was created about the importance of direct exposure children have with nature. It aimed to find out the attitudes children have towards nature, what they actually think nature is and what can be done to encourage more children to get outside and explore.
It shows how important an adult’s influence is in the process of creating the first spark that makes a child leave their computer and put on their wellies. It is this preliminary movement that will increase the child’s first hand experiences and be the beginning of many adventures.
The children are the key members of the future world and without them the research for this documentary will not have been achievable. The documentary will show the variety of relationships children have with nature, from a very distant relationship, to a child who only comes inside at the weekend once the sunsets, (that’s how I remember my childhood).
“Crowded classrooms… are a tragic waste of our greatest national resource – the minds of our children.”
– Walt Disney
The film shows many activities in which children enjoy the natural world. Including tree identification, whether they recognise any tracks, and flora ID. By understanding the amount of knowledge a child has about the surrounding natural world is important because it allows them to then share their knowledge and help preserve it for the forthcoming generations. It also provides a basis to show where adults can improve with their teachings. The film also shows children enjoying nature in many more direct ways. Enjoy.