Open Cinema hosts: “Play Again” – November 7th, 2012

Open Cinema hosts the thought-provoking and gently funny documentary PLAY AGAIN Wednesday November 7th, in partnership with the Habitat Acquistion Trust, and asks the question – “What are the consequences of a childhood removed from Nature?”


As a child, growing up on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island in the 1960s and early 1970s, I spent hours exploring the woods and beaches surrounding my community.  It wasn’t unusual for me to strap on a knapsack and gather up my younger brothers to head out for hours, only returning when our stomachs were growling, or night began to fall.

My mother regularly took us on beach hikes, even when the youngest were not yet six.  One incident remains etched in my memory – it’s only decades later that I realize just how much danger we were exposed to.

It was winter, but a sunny day nonetheless, right after a major storm.  The ocean was whipped and the waves created a frothing mass at the edge of the tideline. Out in the surf, logs bobbed up and down like so many matchsticks.

We were walking along what little beach remained when suddenly confronted with a creek, now a raging torrent.  The only way across was over a fallen tree, slick with that particular kind of hoar frost that appears in a humid and cold environment.  Standing up was folly, so we scooted across on our bottoms, hanging on tightly.  The slightest slip meant falling into the water from which retrieval would have been problematic at best and impossible at worst.  If I remember correctly we were all under 10 years of age.

My parents were not fool hardy people. They measured the risks accordingly, provided us with guidance, and taught us the value of a back up plan.  Given the remote nature of my community, and the lack, at the time, of a coordinated provincial emergency program, being outdoors meant being resourceful and resilient, and planning for the inevitable emergencies.  We learned to measure our physical capabilities, and to stretch them when warranted.

Years later, when raising my own children, I was grateful to live in a neighbourhood with parks and beaches nearby, where they could roam and explore on their own too.  In addition, Capital Regional District Parks was in full expansion, and we made good use of the many, often-free, programs.  I’m sure we have at one time or another visited every park in the system.

It was tempting to allow the ethos of the day, which by then was becoming ever more fearful, especially after the tragic disappearance of Michael Dunahee (almost the same age as my oldest son), to rule our hearts and minds, but we refused to let it happen.  Like my parents before me, we made time to be outdoors in nature with our children, made sure they learned outdoor skills through programs like Scouts Canada, the CRD and the Canadian Red Cross, and turned them loose when it was warranted.

They’ve had the pleasure of canoeing the Broken Islands Group, winter camping atMount Washington, hiking on the Olympic Peninsula, and mountain climbing inStrathconaPark.

Now that our grandson has arrived, we hope that he will be able to stay connected to nature too, and have already started to scout out the opportunities both here in the greaterVictoriaregion, and further afield onVancouver Island.

If, like me, you believe that children have an inalienable right to explore and experience the natural world, be sure to attend the screening of Play Again and join in the discussion after, as we wrestle with the question of how we got to this place in time where children no longer roam free.

OPEN CINEMA & Habitat AcquisitionTrust present:

PLAY AGAIN:  what are the consequences of a childhood removed from Nature?

Post screening discussion with Lisa Lockerbie, Sooke Nature Kindergarten
Todd Carnahan, Habitat Acquisition Trust
David Segal, Power To Be
Moderator Dr. Richard Kool, Royal Roads University

WHEN:    7pm Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 (Doors 5:30pm)
WHERE:   The Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St (elevator access)
COST:        $10-20 suggested donation, at the door only
CONTACT: Mandy Leith by email or phone: 250.882.7441

Livestreamed Discussion with moderated Twitter Chat

The post-screening discussion will be livestreamed on our Live page and on our Ustream channel. In addition, there will be a moderated Tweetchat about the topic of Nature education and environmental education  – please follow the hashtag #OCchats. The tweet chat and livestream will start at8.45pm PSTon November 7th. If you have questions about the tweet chat, please feel free to contact us.


Disclaimer: I will be attending the above screening as a guest of Open Cinema.  


About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.

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