PROJECT WILD THING: Film Encourages Kids to Play Outside
Reconnecting kids with nature is one preventative measure for improving children’s health, and British documentarian David Bond is leading the charge with PROJECT WILD THING: a hilarious, real-life film of one man's determination to get children out and into the ultimate, free wonder-product: Nature.
Can playing in nature save our youngest generation?
Today's children rarely have the opportunity to participate in "free play"—unstructured playtime outdoors that has been linked to improved academic performance and social skills. Our youngest generation, those born since the year 2000, is missing out on free play, and the effects are tangible.
Today, more than one-quarter of eighth-graders are overweight or obese. One in ten children suffer from mental illness. These kids comprise the first generation in history expected to have a lower life expectancy than their parents, and their limited opportunities for free play play a part in that dire prediction.
Using a powerful medium to convey an important message
Reconnecting kids with nature is one preventative measure for improving children’s health, and British documentarian David Bond is leading the charge with PROJECT WILD THING: a hilarious, real-life film of one man's determination to get children out and into the ultimate, free wonder-product: nature.
Using tongue-in-cheek humor, the film follows Bond's quest to "market" nature to kids. He hopes this approach—complete with billboards gracing buildings and bus stops in the UK—will help convey the importance of a connection with nature, and ultimately prompt more children (and parents) to get outdoors and play more often.
Promoting free play at Mount St. Helens on Sept. 14
David Bond is visiting Washington to promote this initiative. He will be at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on Sept. 14 for a free screening of PROJECT WILD THING. He will host a pre-film presentation at 5:45 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater of the Johnston Ridge Observatory, and the film will be shown inside the observatory theater at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited so the public is encouraged to register for the free screening or call 360-891-5222.
PROJECT WILD THING
When: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 5:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Where: Johnston Ridge Observatory 24000 Spirit Lake Highway P.O. Box 326 Toutle, WA 98649
Before the event, the public is invited to get into the spirit of the event by enjoying the trails near the observatory, attending a ranger talk, and viewing eruption films in the Observatory. You'll need a Monument Pass ($8 for adults, kids 0-15 free, interagency passes honored). Day use Nature Explore backpacks can be checked out at the Coldwater Science and Learning Center for free.
Several organizations, including the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Pacific Northwest Tax Service, Cowlitz County Economic Development Council, and Mount St. Helens Institute have made this possible.
The talk and screening are one of a series of events focused on increasing public awareness on the importance of free play, especially outdoor play, and its role in the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive health of our children.
The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is excited to be a part of this series. Manager Tom Mulder said, “We are excited to be part of the campaign to get kids outdoors to play...what better place than on Mount St. Helens!”
Watch the trailer
Can't make the event? Explore nature as a fairyland