Project Wild Thing immediately struck a chord with me; it articulates how I want my son to discover the natural world, naturally.
One morning, as I was losing the will to live watching early morning children’s TV with my son (is it me, or do children’s TV actors and presenters feel like they are sustaining a thriving cocaine industry off-screen? I digress…) I quickly jumped to BBC’s Breakfast and caught an interview with the founders of Project Wild Thing.
I was transfixed; firstly because I work in advertising (and am drug free, for the record), but secondly because the project articulated what for me as a child was the real drug; playing outdoors.
I totally admire this project, have a watch:
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Claire and I have every intention of making sure real-life, non-screen-based, regular interactions with nature are part of Milo’s childhood. In fact it’s why we chose to buy a house near one of London’s largest forests.
And the ad-man in me really hopes this campaign will get traction, but there is a lot of noise out there to compete with it. The mission is, after all, to find reflective silence which is becoming rare.
Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get more kids (and their folks!) outside and reconnecting with nature. The film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature.
And Project Wild Thing is much more than a film, this is a growing movement of organisations and individuals who care deeply about the need for nature connected, free-range, roaming and outdoor playing kids in the 21st century. Hundreds of people have already committed huge amounts of time, energy, resources and money to help get the project where it is today. Which is really just the beginning.
The journey started in late 2010 with film-makers Green Lions exploring a film approach to an emerging issue coined ‘nature deficit disorder’ in kids. A collaboration formed with the National Trust who were also looking at the issue and through the Britdoc Foundation support for the development of the film and movement has gathered along the way from RSPB, Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, TFT, Woodland Trusts, AMV BBDO and Arla foods.
In summer 2012 Greenlions formed a collaboration with Good for Nothing, helping co-create the foundation of David Bond’s nature marketing program, this was supported by generous contributions from the Do Lectures, TYF Adventures, Eden Project and Al Kennedy.
In the autumn of 2012 the Natural Childhood Summit hosted by the National Trust brought together hundreds of organisations to explore the challenges and issues more widely and collaboratively.
Project Wild Thing emerged and thousands of people have pledged to support the project a year before the film has launched. A Kickstarter campaign raised further funding from hundreds of awesome individuals around the world to finish the film production.
In January 2013 Swarm Partnership came on board with support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and The Wild Network was hatched. The network is an open, growing collaborative group of organisations big and small seeking to tackle the many issues raised in the film and champion the wonders of being outside. An advisory group was established with the WildLife Trusts currently heading that up.
Project Wild Thing and The Wild Network is a people powered movement, it’s success will be down to the actions and the energy of this growing community.
If you want nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society then join us and get involved in making that happen.
See you on the outside.