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Front Page - Friday, March 16, 2018

New IMAX film showcases animals who might be closer than you think

Coyotes have adapted to city and suburban living, and can often be hiding in plain sight without human detection. - Photographs provided

Living in a society in which the demands of digital interactions are constantly multiplying and becoming more insistent, it can be all too easy to lose touch with the natural world.

With our eyes glued to our phones, many people fail to look up and appreciate the aerial ballet of flocking waterfowl and songbirds or the awe-inspiring migration of monarch butterflies. And as we strive to add to our online networks, we often miss the more intimate connections we share with the box turtles, flying squirrels, blue jays and other species living right in our backyard.

On March 16, the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater will premiere “The Wild Around You 3D,” a new giant-screen film focused on the oft-neglected relationship between people and the animals with whom they share their world.

The film features a modern suburban family and the animals that live in and near their home. Unbeknownst to their human neighbors – with the exception of one girl whose eyes are steadily opened to the wonder around her – the nearby woods teem with wildlife.

The 45-minute film captures intimate moments of natural wonder happening right underfoot and overhead, from the daredevil free-fall of wood duck hatchlings leaving the nest and the annual migration of legions of spotted salamanders to the monumental power of a raindrop to turn a ladybug’s world upside down.

“The Wild Around You 3D” shines a light on natural behaviors that often go overlooked or unnoticed. The filmmakers deployed tiny cameras, motion-control rigs, time-lapse and high-speed frame rates to take viewers inside animal dens from the forest canopy to beneath the ground. On Chattanooga’s largest screen, audiences will come antenna-close to bumblebees taking off from white clover and watch the springtime descent of chittering raccoon kits from treetop dens.

As the film’s nature-blind family awakens to the beauty just beyond their threshold, viewers hopefully will be likewise inspired to value and seek out the wildlife living in their own backyards, says Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s director of forests and animal behavior.

“Having things in your backyard to enjoy and interact with gives you a fuller appreciation of wildlife and improves your life,” he adds.

“Both of my kids loved to explore the yard and find new things in it. Every time they went out, it was a new adventure.”

The Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director and producer of “The Wild Around You 3D,” Andrew Young, will introduce the film’s premiere at 5:30 p.m. on March 16.

Register for this special screening at www.tnaqua.org/events-programs.

Subsequent screenings will be shown daily at 11 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.tnaqua.org/imax/the-wild-around-you-3d.

Source: Tennessee Aquarium