Solace – Finding peace in nature during a global pandemic
As a global pandemic forced the shutdown of virtually all in-person gatherings, humanity turned to their local parks and natural areas as a place of activity, socially distant interactions, and a source of solace.
Many of these visitors developed a personal connection through hiking, picnics, meditation, kayaking, bicycling, landscape photography, and more. We wondered, did they then realize the need to protect and preserve these natural resources?
Our team, with backgrounds as filmmakers and Naturalists, decided to explore this societal shift through a short film, using a combination of narrative and interview-driven content to represent the impact of the pandemic on daily life and mental health.
From the outset of this filmmaking project, we wanted to guide our storytelling with data on the issue. We wanted to examine if the general public was experiencing this shift in mentality. So, we created a 10-question survey to disseminate through our social networks. We found out that over 90% of survey takers responded “Yes” to deliberately spending 10-50% more time outside during the pandemic.
The objective of Solace is to maintain the momentum of interest in and support for our natural areas brought about by the need to have a safe place to destress or connect with people. And by proactively securing long-term protection for these areas, we, in turn, will improve our own health and safeguard these restorative places for future generations.
“Our parks and natural areas are commonly viewed as just “there,” ready and available for our engagement when we get the occasional itch for a hike or picnic. With Solace, we wanted to go beyond “preaching to the choir” of pre-existing nature enthusiasts. We wanted to hear from people who were not regularly active outdoors, who turned to nature for its therapeutic properties during the chaotic stress of the pandemic. And then would they take a step further? Would they understand the benefits of interacting with and safeguarding our natural areas? And we were not disappointed. Humans need nature, and nature needs our help to sustain it.” – Braden Worrell
Now we want to hear from you! Please join the conversation.
Join the Conversation …
Here are some helpful prompts to get you started:
How did the pandemic affect your interaction with nature?”
What sort of activities did you do outdoors while your normal activities and venues were closed?”
How does being in nature affect your mindset?
Our Team …
Leslie Lorance – Director and Editor
Leslie Lorance is a freelance video producer and editor with extensive experience creating educational, documentary, journalistic style videos for museum and nonprofit organizations. Her video work for the Indiana State Museum assisted in winning the National Association for Interpretation Interpretive Media Award for the Natural Regions Gallery. She was lead producer for the Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site orientation film and producer/videographer/editor for The Plump Legacy, winning her an Honorable Mention at the Really Big Short Film Festival. Leslie is enthusiastic about sharing her love of the outdoors and makes videos aimed to inspire, inform and connect people with nature. She has worked with Indiana Wildlife Federation, Environmental Education Association of Indiana, and Central Indiana Land Trust, helping them share their conservation messages through storytelling and the medium of film.
Braden Worrell – Producer and Director of Photography
Braden Worrell is co-founder and Producer at Monumental Productions, a Florida-based video marketing company that creates commercials, brand stories, and explainer videos – rooted in storytelling and focused on sustainability. For Braden, storytelling is much deeper than a marketing buzzword; it’s an inherently human-centered method of communicating history, education, and inspiration in a highly compelling format. His experience as a writer, director, and photographer has led him to produce stories in over 13 countries, from Nicaragua to Iceland to the Philippines. He served as Assistant Director on Finding Hygge, a documentary about the Danes’ secret to happiness, winning Best Documentary at the Annual Copenhagen Film Festival in 2018.
Elaine Klemesrud – Research and Production Assistant
Elaine Klemesrud plays a key role as Research and Production Assistant providing survey creation and videography support. Having worked in the museum field in alternative education, evaluation and visitor advocacy she approaches projects from a holistic standpoint ensuring all aspects of the production process are implemented on time and on budget. Her background in program facilitation and event planning, in addition to her attention to detail, make her a perfect fit for the team.
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
— Henry David Thoreau
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.