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Scene from the film “Into America’s Wild,” playing at The Dome at Science Museum of Virginia.

“Into America’s Wild” at Science Museum of Virginia Helps You Experience Nature Through Personal Narratives

“Into America’s Wild” is the forty-minute feature in The Dome that brings your family closer to the treasures of nature.

Forty-Minute Feature in The Dome is Ideal Length for Families

I headed back to The Dome at the Science Museum of Virginia last week to check out one of their new feature films, Into the Wild. A beautiful exploration of the many landscapes that exist across the country and beyond, the film is narrated by one of the greatest voices of our time, Morgan Freeman. 

Freeman guides you through an exploration of nature and humanity, weaving together a story that shows how intertwined and yet disconnected we are with nature. 

The film highlights four individuals who are working collaboratively and inter-generationally to ensure that the next generation of young people of varied backgrounds and abilities understand the importance, wonder, and connection within the natural world. Through breathtaking landscapes captured from a moving train, kayaks, and hot air balloons this is sure to capture the attention and of all and 

The film first introduces us to Native American astronaut John Herrington, who channels his experiences as an Indigenous person and astronaut to inform how he sees and interacts with nature and his mission to introduce young people to the passion of science and nature. 

Next up is youth advocate Ariel Tweto, an Alaskan Native, pilot, and tv personality who has spent much of her life in nature and sharing nature with others through in person explorations and television shows. She and Jon Herrington are collaborators in getting young people out into the wild to break down the barriers that now exist between kids, technology, and nature. 

These two hold fast to their duty in this technological landscape to ensure that young people understand the natural resources around them and the importance of experiencing and preserving them. What they are also modeling is the importance of intergenerational relationships, where old and young are sharing their experiences and thoughts together to dream up solutions to the challenges we all face. 

The next two heroes in this story are hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis and Emma Faye Rudkin. Jennifer Pharr Davis is a record-breaking hiker, who talks about her triumphs as a hiker, but more so as someone who had never done a long distance hike but set a goal to do it, and accomplished it, far beyond hers or anyone else’s expectations.  

What stuck with me the most about her story is her hike with her newborn baby. She explains that at a point on the journey it started to rain and her first inclination was to find cover, but to her surprise and her daughter’s delight the baby began to giggle and enjoy the rain. What a great reminder that sometimes what may feel like an inconvenience is actually an opportunity to experience the world in a different way, and be surprised by the joy and connection it can bring. 

Emma Faye Rudkin, a community advocate for the deaf community, was a fascinating story to watch as she explained the way in which people with disabilities experience the wilderness, and how technology can be a supporter to providing experience and access. The film follows her as she takes a group of deaf children on a walk through a garden, and explains how her other senses are on alert to sense nature differently than a hearing person. 

Technology also has a place on this walk-though, as  she and the children are using it in the form of special headphones and backpacks that use vibration to transmit the sounds of nature. While I started the film with the notion that I needed to get away from technology and into nature, I also have to recognize the delicate balance and need for technology to be a bridge to nature. 

There is so much to see, feel, and aspire to in this film. Whether through two people from different generations who collaborate because of their love of the land or a mother who wants to make sure her kids are in nature experiencing the wonder, we all have much to learn. This film reminds us that we need to find nature where we can, and advocate for it where we and others cannot.  

Into America’s Wild plays every day in the The Dome at the Science Museum of Virginia. For show times, go here.

Into America’s Wild
Scene from the film “Into America’s Wild,” playing at The Dome at Science Museum of Virginia.

Taekia Glass is the co-director of the Mending Walls project and operations guru for her husband Hamilton Glass’s work in transformative art. Her love of the arts, young people, and community keeps her actively engaged in creating connections among friends and colleagues that inject new energy into Richmond. Taekia is the the of mom of two brilliant and active daughters.

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