Backyard Wilderness

The Backyard Wilderness project is an evaluation of the informal and formal educational outreach campaign associated with the giant screen film, Backyard Wilderness.

Lead Staff:
Eric Hochberg
Karen Mutch-Jones
Project Staff:
Debra Bernstein
Sabrina De Los Santos
Santiago Gasca
Anushree Bopardikar
Sarah Hill
Martha Merson
Gillian Puttick


With its media partners, Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Tangled Bank Studios produced Backyard Wilderness, an IMAX film focusing on the idea of a backyard as a complex, biodiverse ecosystem that can be explored, and that humans’ impact and need to protect.

The film’s intent is to spark curiosity and excitement about exploring local ecosystems. Along with the film, Tangled Bank Studios developed an educational outreach campaign to extend the reach of the film’s messages beyond museum and science center IMAX theaters. The campaign includes nature-play inquiry activities and materials for formal and informal educators and families, as well as temporary exhibits for public libraries, library-curated special book collections, Bioblitz events focused on finding and identifying species in local ecosystems, and a citizen science application developed by iNaturalist that is intended for use by children.

SEEC’s evaluation focuses on understanding the range of campaign implementation approaches across 16 diverse libraries, the impacts of the campaign, and the quality, implementation, and uptake of educator resources.