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“It was the first time for many of them to swim in a river, to go hiking, to dig in the dirt with just their hands,” says Tonje.
She recalls being pleasantly surprised with their openness to the experience, and also with their ability to communicate what they were feeling.
“I think that is maybe a benefit from them spending so much time in these virtual communities. They’re so used to sharing their minds and their stories, and their ‘status’,” Tonje says, with a laugh. “Just their language and their way of communicating their thoughts and feelings, it was very impressive to me. And it was also very heartening to see, even just after a few days in the woods, how some of them almost came alive or woke up on some level.”
Tonje and producer Meg Merrill hope the documentary will serve as a reminder of the sense of wonder nature can inspire. Right now, they say it’s especially important given the current state of the planet, and the fact that today’s youth will be the ones left to deal with the impacts of climate change.
“We live in a time where, more than ever, we need to be connected and understand the natural world. And, yet, we’re raising our children more removed from it than ever. To me, that’s just a very scary situation,” says Tonye.
So, what can we do to help foster this connection?
“I think it’s really important as parents just to be good role models, to set time limits on our own screen use and to work out timeframes and boundaries together with our children,” Tonye says.
“And then, get outside. If that has been something in your family that hasn’t been a normal activity, I think it’s important to start slowly and simply. On the kids’ level, let them decide where you go and what you do.”
It doesn’t have to be a camping trip or a hike up a mountain, Tonje adds. Nature is everywhere—in city parks, schoolyards, and even right outside your door.
Watch ‘Play Again’ during its worldwide, online screening at 8:30 p.m. EST on March 7, 2012. Director Tonje Hessen Schei will also be participating in a live video Q+A. For details, click here.
images courtesy of Ground Productions | www.groundproductions.com/films
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