turtle, ocean

Bringing Conservation into the Classroom with Disneynature's "Oceans"

April 21, 2010 12:10 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
Set for an Earth Day release, the new Disney film features stunning underwater images, and can help educators broach topics like marine conservation.

Marine Life on Full Display

“Oceans” is unlike any underwater film, Cristy Lytal explains for the Los Angeles Times. Lytal spoke with cinematographer Eric Börjeson about the techniques he employed to capture marine life on camera. Rebreather diving, for example, eliminates bubbles, and allowed Börjeson to get closer to shy creatures like hammerhead sharks.

Filming took Börjeson “from the frozen poles to the milder climes of South Africa, Costa Rica and Cocos Island, encountering everything from walruses to whales,” Lytal writes. The fruits of his labors will be on full display on April 22, when theaters begin showing the film.

“Oceans” is actually “the second in a series from the new Disneynature label,” according to Christy Lemire, Associated Press movie critic. Last year on Earth Day, the label released “Earth,” which utilized 3D IMAX special effects. “Oceans” may not use such effects, but the final product is still “stunningly beautiful,” the result of seven years of work, four of which were spent collecting footage. Lemire lauds directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud for crafting “a nonfiction film that’s shot and edited like a feature,” resulting in “an emotional connection” between audiences and the animals on the screen.

Just as taken with the film is Wallace J. Nichols, a scientist and author writing for The Huffington Post. Nichols calls "Oceans" “the most important film of our time,” and suggests that watching it is a potentially life-altering experience.

Background: “Oceans” and Earth Day in the classroom

The official Disneynature Web site touts the film’s “never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies." You’ll find profiles of cast and crew, including narrator Pierce Brosnan. Video features include trailers and clips from the film, while the gallery reveals up-close photos of underwater creatures, such as manatees and sea turtles.

Teachers can download the selection of educational materials, including an 8-page activity guide and an educators guide, both meant to enhance the film. The "Beneath the Waves" download, provided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, is a "standards-based program" exploring marine life and preservation. There's also a Classroom Mural Contest inspired by the film. Finally, the site’s "get involved" feature links to several organizations focused on marine conservation efforts.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day for Kids page has a list of environment-themed books for children.

Senator Gaylord Nelson played a crucial role in the creation of Earth Day. The senator’s efforts and the story behind Earth Day are discussed at length on the Web site of The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Reference: The environment

Visit findingDulcinea’s Environment page for access to our archives of articles covering global environmental news, wildlife, food and farming, environmental threats and green living tips.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines