Station 6 – Champion Environmental Stewardship of our Natural History

The first step in caring for the natural world and the creatures that share our environment is to broaden our horizons. When we build our understanding of the forces that shape our surroundings and the impact we have,  we grow our capacity to take practical action in tackling issues of sustainability, and to question and challenge practices that impact negatively on the environment; we become more attuned to the environmental impact of every-day activity, and better-equipped to seek solutions.

Natural History films have been a huge part of the documentary world for decades, but what can we learn from the amazing wildlife that we share our planet with? What of species that are on the brink, or have already vanished from the wild? What impact might these stories can have on the future of our world?

Watch and Learn:

Watch the film below and make a note of the evidence it presents. What research findings or facts does the film share, and how are these used to support, and give weight and context to the story that is being told. At the end we will ask you to summarise what you felt were the most impactful pieces of research in a 3 to 5 point infographic:

Click the images below to watch the two films in the ‘Not A Pet Series’, and be ready to enter the password ‘WaterBearOriginals2021’.

‘Not A Pet: Primates’


‘Not A Pet: Cheetahs’

Learn by Doing

Using the notes you took whilst watching the film, see if you can create an infographic to share three to five of the most interesting factual, scientific or otherwise proven pieces of information or data you collected. In completing this activity, think about why you chose those particular pieces of information – why did they stick in your mind – were they particularly surprising, or interesting, or challenging? In what ways did they support or promote the documentary’s message?

Watch some more

If you have access to the WaterBear web site in your part of the world, you might want to take a look at some of these films as a source of inspiration for your own research:

If you cannot access the WaterBear website, there are a selection of WaterBear film trailers on their YouTube channel HERE.

Now carry out some research of your own

Research is a critical factor in developing a compelling cinematic story. Your research will give your story depth and substance, and bring greater understanding to your audience. Read online articles. Watch interviews and documentaries. Read books. Read magazine articles. Ask the people around you and find experts whose discoveries and perspectives you can share.

It sounds obvious, but try to avoid the obvious! Don’t include too much information that your audience would already know or be able to guess about a topic. Equally don’t overload your documentary with too many facts and statistics… instead try to find a balance that focuses on something new or surprising about your subject.

Better still, if you can make connections through your research – explain cause and effect – your story will become more compelling. Finally, think about presenting the audience with facts from both sides of the issue you are presenting. It shows trust in their ability to draw the right conclusions, and at the same time will spark debate and discussion – it will help to get your audience thinking and talking about your issue.

Now it’s your turn. With your topic or theme in mind, carry out some research and aim to capture at least three to five interesting scientific facts or statistics that you want to share through your film.

You might want to download the Research Worksheet to use it as a template or design your own infographic as you did in the activity above.

Next task>