Nature Canada

Escape Into Nature With These 5 Documentaries

Nature documentaries offer a way for us to journey through environments we may never come across in our own backyards. Many of us are following the advice of public health officials to stay home, and that can lend itself to a feeling of disconnection from the natural world. But it doesn’t have to be that way! While most nature lovers have watched Planet Earth, here are five other documentaries that will immerse you in nature without ever having to leave your couch.

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

This documentary dives into the life and work of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, a Canadian zoologist who is described as the “Jane Goodall of the giraffe world.” It follows her 1956 journey to South Africa to study the long-necked species. Despite being the world’s first “giraffologist” and one of the first ever to study animals in the wild, few knew Dagg’s name. Now 85 years old, Dagg reflects on her life’s work and the world of giraffes past and present.  

Watch The Woman Who Loves Giraffes on Crave.

Night on Earth

While humans sleep, nature keeps moving. Using cutting-edge, low-light camera technology, this documentary series unveils the previously unknown night-time behaviours of plants and animal species around the world. The results are breathtaking—watch the trailer below to see what we mean! Spacing out the six episodes over the course of a week is an excellent strategy to help time fly when practicing physical distancing.

Watch “Night on Earth” on Netflix.

Jumbo Wild

This film chronicles the decades-long dispute between Indigenous groups, nature conservationists, and ski resort builders over Jumbo Valley in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains. Long before it was a popular ski and snowboarding destination, Jumbo Valley was a sacred ground for local Indigenous people, and one of the continent’s most important grizzly bear corridors. 

Excitingly, the film documents the lead-up to a major decision made in January 2020 that granted Jumbo Valley protection from development. In the future, the land will become an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area overseen by the Ktunaxa Nation, provincial, and federal governments. At just an hour in length, Jumbo Wild is an inspiring choice for a weekday movie night.

You can rent or buy the documentary on YouTube

Dancing With the Birds

There’s a reason why birdwatching is a popular activity—birds are perhaps the most amusing creatures in our natural world. Admit it, we’re all having a few at-home dance parties these days. There’s no better time to seek inspiration from the elegance of tropical birds flaunting their feathers and performing courtship dances to attract a mate. Ready to take your bird-loving tendencies to the next level? Perhaps this documentary will inspire you to begin indoor birding!

Watch Dancing With the Birds on Netflix.

Surviving the Fundy Footpath

How would you handle one of the most challenging multi-day treks in Canada? This documentary tries to answer that question by following the journey of Bruce Persaud, a city slicker and hiking newbie, as he attempts to walk the famous 41-kilometre-long Fundy Footpath in New Brunswick. With zero camping experience, this treacherous (yet comedic) adventure may be one you’re happy to view from home! 

Watch Surviving the Fundy Footpath on CBC Gem.

Looking for other indoor activities to keep yourself occupied? Why not combine these documentaries and host an at-home nature-themed film festival for your family or housemates? If popcorn isn’t your thing, try your hand at these other ideas for physically distancing through nature.

Nature Canada thanks the frontline medical workers for their efforts during this time. We follow the advice of the World Health Organization and Health Canada. Please visit these two websites for the latest information on how to protect you and your family from COVID-19.

Nature is also important to our health and well-being and we hope you’ll consider supporting our efforts to save nature. Thank you for caring!

Yours in nature, the Nature Canada team.

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