2B Landscape Consultancy has helped with crowd-funding of Project Wild Thing.

Drawing by David Bond that encapsulates the ideas of Project Wild Thing
Drawing by David Bond that encapsulates the ideas of Project Wild Thing

A campaign described by its founder as ‘a major social-change movement to reconnect kids with nature’ could also bring the role and importance of landscape architecture to a wider audience.

People are at the heart of the Project Wild Thing movement, says filmmaker and campaigner David Bond whose crowd-funded film of the same name opens in cinemas on 25 October.

Bond’s feature-length documentary, also called Project Wild Thing, takes an amusing and revealing look at the complex issue of the increasingly distant connection between children and nature.

British children, Bond argues, have never been more disconnected from the natural world. The size of area around their homes that children will play in has shrunk by 90% in 30 years, he says, and the time that children spend playing outside is down by 50% in just one generation.

‘At the same time study after study shows time spent outside in nature increases happiness, health and wellbeing in children (and adults too!),’ he said.

Project Wild Thing is supported by 2B Landscape Consultancy, whose landscape assistant Amanda McDermott came across the campaign on the internet.

It’s ironic, McDermott says, that an initiative so passionately concerned with getting people away from their various screens and outdoors, connecting with nature, should have come to her attention via the internet and Twitter.

‘The importance of “wild time” is something that we, as landscape architects, instinctively know and incorporate into our work, so when Project Wild Thing came to our attention, we felt it was important to help,’ she said.

2B’s contribution was to help with the Twitter campaign (@wearewildthing), and donate to the Kickstarter crowd-funding, of the film.

Bond says he opted to crowd fund part of the film costs ‘because it gave us the opportunity to share our love for the film and engage a whole new audience’. That, he says, ‘and we needed the cash’.

‘And thanks to the incredible generosity of Project Wild Thing’s Kickstarter community, we raised £33,000 in just six weeks.’

Throughout making the film, Bond says, ‘I was stuck by the amazing eagerness of people to help me convince children to get outdoors and “sell” them the benefits of nature’.

There are many reasons why kids are spending less time outside today, notes the Project Wild Thing website. ‘Busy roads stuffed with cars, lack of green spaces on our doorsteps, Health and safety on steroids, the widespread commercialisation of play and entertainment for starters. In recent years the rapid spread of screen technology is also keeping our kids (and us) a little, er distracted.’

Project Wild Thing and its campaign to reconnect children with nature, is supported by The Wild Network, a collaborative movement of more than 160 organisations and thousands of individuals committed to getting kids in the UK outdoors.

Having now finished the film, says Bond, ‘Now a new chapter for Project Wild Thing begins’.

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