National Parks Foundation “Little Girl”

Are national parks mainly places in which nature is protected from man and his dreadful works? Or are they mainly places where man (and man’s cute little daughters) can go to have high-quality fun? Shunning the humans-are-bad theme that has become a conspicuous strain in modern environmentalism, this spot for the National Parks Foundation (via Modernista, Boston) adopts the second viewpoint. And a good thing, too, as it’s much more suited to making ordinary folks feel disposed to “get involved” with the parks. Actually, the voiceover says of the parks that “This is your land” and then asks viewers to “Discover how to get involved and protect what is yours, at nationalparks.org.” This notion of human ownership of the land is certainly out of keeping with current eco-piety, but the reference is again a natural way of fostering a sense of individual viewers’ stewardship of the parks. In the course of the spot, we see as much of the girl’s room as we do of home-movie clips of the park, tacitly conveying the message that a visit to a National Park is an experience you bring back home with you. (In contrast to Las Vegas, what happens in Rocky Mountain National Park does not stay in Rocky Mountain National Park.) In tandem with the new Ken Burns film now airing on PBS television, the spot makes you feel that the National Parks represent not just nature but the grandest sort of human endeavor in concert with nature. And that feeling is well-calculated to incite involvement with them.  –Mark Dolliver