BACK TO NATURE is a visually stunning documentary series featuring two storytellers guiding viewers through the wonder & awe of the Australian landscape, exploring stories that reconnect the audience with the natural world. Both yearning to reconnect with nature themselves, beloved actor Aaron Pedersen & bestselling writer Holly Ringland take the audience on a journey into the deep interconnectedness between human beings and the landscape, exploring unfamiliar stories involving mystery, geology, history, traditional Indigenous knowledge & the natural science. As Holly & Aaron journey deeper into an understanding of our land’s unique story, they bring all of us into a greater understanding of ourselves, our history, & our place in the natural world. At a time when humans are more disconnected from nature than ever before, BACK TO NATURE’s gorgeous cinematography, immersive soundscapes, & compelling, emotional stories help the audience connect with nature.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
The Issue - Our Growing Disconnection to Nature.
Studies show that every year we’re increasing the time we spend indoors and behind our screens. Depression and anxiety are on the rise, along with non-communicable health issues like obesity and diabetes: all are associated with decreased time in nature.
The Why - Connection with nature has positive impacts on mental and physical health.
Studies have shown that the relationship between human health and time spent in nature promotes physical activity, decrease stress and protect against mental illness. So, the science is in: spending time in nature is good for our bodies and our minds.
Listening to Traditional Owners’ knowledge will benefit all Australians.
Back to Nature offers an opportunity to help lay the groundwork for mainstream awareness of Traditional knowledge of Country and for inviting all Australians into an understanding that we are not separate from nature, but intimately connected to everything in it.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
Make connecting to & spending time in nature an integrated & essential part of people’s health and wellbeing.
• Inform & educate people about the evidenced physical & mental health benefits of connecting with nature.
• Support & activate people, particularly in urban areas, to spend quality time connecting with nature
• Inspire people to protect, restore & create natural spaces.
• To learn from First Nations’ traditional knowledge and philosophy of protecting country
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
• Mass reach for the Back to Nature TV series and impact campaign.
• Creation of a national conversation around the mental physical emotional, social & spiritual benefits of being in nature.
• Increased visitation to national parks & green spaces.
• Make connecting to and spending time in nature an integrated & essential part of people’s lives.
• Dissemination & uptake of the Back to Nature Study Guide schools.
• Create a nation of nature protectors, understanding that people protect what they love.
• Widespread understanding of the role of nature in mental and physical healthcare including nature prescriptions.
• People in the city or Bush empowered to protect restore and create nature spaces.
• First Nations people’s knowledge of the land and their philosophy of protecting country will educate all Australians and help lay the ground for Makarrata.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
Munya Andrews is an Elder from Kimberley region of Western Australia, who has worked in various roles as a senior bureaucrat, lawyer and cultural awareness educator and facilitator. She is co-director of Evolve Communities. Munya’s life purpose is to create a better understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal people and to leave behind a legacy of Dreamtime wisdom for generations to come.
Bruce Pascoe has written more than 20 books. His non-fiction book, Dark Emu (2014), won the Book of the Year and Indigenous Writers’ Prize in the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
People and Parks Foundation
We are collaborating with The People and Parks Foundation on this project. Our conversations began over a year ago and we discovered we share a passion to reconnect people with nature. www.PeopleandParks.org
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
1. The population of Australia inspired to spend more time outside in nature.
2. Participation in the social media campaign accompanying the national broadcast.
3. Dissemination and engagement with the Back to Nature Study Guide among school teachers and education networks
4. Medical practitioners prescribing nature to patients as part of wholistic approach to health and well being.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
The number of eyeballs on the series & contact with the impact & outreach campaign will be measured through broadcast ratings, ABC iView ﬁgures, downloads of the program & related podcasts, downloads & sharing of the education materials, website visits and social media engagement. The national conversation will be trackable through media monitors and social media.
The project partners are exploring collaborating with a university to create an evaluation framework into whether the series changes the amount of time people spend in nature. We are exploring a model that would be able to compare rates of time spent outdoors before the broadcast of the series, & 12 months after broadcast of the series. We will also be working with our partners to gather additional data for example increased visits to national parks and attitudinal shifts towards climate change after viewing and interacting with the project.
Engagement in the Education Sector will be measured by the downloads of the materials