Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Observing them in their natural habitat

Shhhh....crouch down low, won't you? We need to whisper and be very aware of our movements. Take a moment and calm your breath down, or they might spook. Now, slowly - very slowly - take a look through that doorway. You may need to crane your neck a little to see them around the corner...but they'll come into view shortly.

There they are! The menfolk of my family: My husband and son are snuggled up next to each other on the couch watching...a nature documentary.

My husband and son love the Planet Earth series. And why shouldn't they? It is brilliantly done and the second series includes some lovely bloopers. I haven't seen them all, but the two of them share a special fondness for them. We have lots of woods near our home and my son has had the good fortune of going to plenty of nature programs, but there is nothing quite like watching a herd of gazelles pound their way across your television (in high def).

It turns out that humans actually crave nature, which is why the documentaries prove so popular. There is a well written piece in Quartz around all the ways we fill our own lives with nature (gardening, wallpaper screens, video games and nature documentaries are some of the highlights), and all the benefits we gain from it.

The key to all of it, however, is that viewing nature on a screen only goes so far - we actually need to experience the real thing from time-to-time. We need to show children that we aren't going to see the rare animals in our backyard, but it is still important to figure out what is actually living out there and learn about how we can coexist.

What's your favorite nature documentary series? Leave the title that you love best in the comments.

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