Welcome from director Camilla Rockwell

Kroka Expeditions Wilderness Program, Spring 2009

Mud season is a time of celebration for me this year — twelve months since we started production on Mother Nature’s Child and two and a half years since I bought a copy of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods on a whim at the Seattle Art Museum. I planned to give the book to my son and daughter-in-law; their two-year old son was my playmate one full day a week. But reading Last Child on the plane home to Vermont, it became clear that my next film project had just been revealed. A new phase of learning was about to begin.

The previous year had been spent producing Holding Our Own, a film about the end of life. How refreshing it felt to focus on the beginning of the life cycle, to think about children and how they grow. My grandson’s generation is growing up with an entirely different exposure to nature than we baby boomers. That wouldn’t be such a big deal except that children today exhibit all kinds of health problems that cause experts to think theirs may be the first generation to experience a shorter life span than their parents. Many of these problems can be traced to changes in our lifestyle and educational curricula that, in the last three decades, have radically reduced children’s free play in the natural world.

Never had I given any serious thought to human connection to nature, leaving it to “environmentalists” to figure out while I spent decades navigating inner territory. For me, nature was just the best place to go on retreat! Researching the issues for Mother Nature’s Child forced me to engage questions I had blithely ignored. Just as making Holding Our Own profoundly changed my relationship to death, so these last two years working on Mother Nature’s Child have awakened an awareness that will only continue to deepen through my life. Maybe this process will even be of benefit to my grandson and his children.

This website will be undergoing constant change throughout the year as we approach the film’s release date next fall. It is being designed by dedicated friends, Shannon and Kent Davidson, who have three young children of their own. Co-producer Wendy Conquest is, like me, a relatively new grandmother. All our cameramen are fathers. We are in this together. As Mother Nature’s Child gestates over the next few months, I invite you to share our journey. Visit our blog to see clips, photographs and outtakes from the film, and to hear about our process as we edit Mother Nature’s Child.

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5 Responses to “Welcome from director Camilla Rockwell”

  1. Rene Casteran says:

    Your trailer was forwarded to me from the Student Conservation Assoc (SCA) newsletter I subscribe to. It was the first I had heard of your film and it is so timely and urgently needed.

    I am a retired Forest Service wilderness ranger etc that was born in New York City, so there is hope for anyone. Althoguh I sort of stumbled into it, hopefully your film will motivate parents, teachers etc to make opportunites for our future generation.

    In a side note, I see you are months away from finishing the film, and I do not know anything about your showing/distribution plans, but wanted to mention that here in southwest Oregon there is the Ashland Independent Film Festival and I think it would be the kind of film they might want to show next year. I am not connected with them so use their web site at http://www.ashlandfilm.org/ for info about them and later how to submit your film if it fits your plans.

    Happy Trails!

  2. Amy Beam says:

    This film is destined to have a major impact on the lives of children and families everywhere. The message is so simple and so strong…we need to be in intimate relationship with the natural world in order to be well and whole. This is true for us as individuals, as a society and as a species!
    Nature deficit disorder indicates that we are suffering from a different kind of poverty. The filmmakers, Camilla and Wendy, are dedicated and impassioned women who are committed to sharing about this issue with integrity and honest inquiry. They are endeavoring to raise money for this project and I hope that we can help them! We can contribute to this worthy cause!

  3. m.j. gallaggher says:

    Thank you for making this film. My own center of balance has been profoundly altered by the time I spend in nature.

    We need to sustain a strong and intimate relationship with the natural world, as it IS us. A rejection of it is a rejection of ourselves

    As a teacher, mother and grandmother I see the direct benefits to children when they honor that we are animals in and of this habitat.

  4. Every time I see the trailer for Mother Nature’s Child, it brings tears to my eyes. It rings so true.

    As a former elementary school teacher, and coordinator of youth programs this film speaks to my heart. I have been increasingly concerned about what is happening to children in their separation from nature and the inner reflection and development it offers.

    This film shows so vividly the life quickening influence that the world of nature has on a toddler or a young adult.

    You can hear it in the confident voices of teens who have taken the risk of living six months in the wilderness. You can sense that after that experience these are kids who have been tested by something real and are going to have the resilience to weather life’s storms.

    You can see it in the complete engagement of a little girl poking around an old stump and ever so gently gathering a mushroom and know that somehow that experience has likely rooted a wonder that can grow into an understanding of our interdependence with all species on the Earth.

    Mother Nature’s Child raises important questions at a critical time in a balanced and forthright way. Please join me in supporting the completion of this film that so vibrantly and masterfully addresses the issues of our time.

  5. I too breathed a big sigh of relief when i saw the movie- i was so happy to see someone with such skill take on this topic. I have been teaching in the outdoors for over 26 years and have observed many changes over the years. I have more recently started many programs at the Environmental Center i work at and the public schools surrounding us to bring children back outside with unstructured play space. I have the privilege to work with after school children, home school children and pre-school children and their parents on an on-going basis each week through the year. Some of the children have been in these outdoor programs for 4 to 5 years. I use the knowledge i gain from these experiences with the children outdoors to give workshops to teachers and administrators on how to get children outdoors and learning- to teach to the “whole child”. I am really excited to be able to use Camilla’s and Wendy’s movie as part of the professional development that i do in the schools. I am looking forward to the finished product! Thanks for all your work.

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