THE NATURALIST
32 minutes, 2001, DVCAM/Super 8

“THE NATURALIST glistens through beautiful nature cinematography and a compelling look at the life of one man dedicated to observing and preserving the natural world around him.  It’s proof that a documentary can be both serious and entertaining.” Herald-Times  (read full review)

“Kent Bonar is no armchair environmentalist. He walks the walk—literally! This documentary offers a rich glimpse into the life of a man who is connected to the natural environment in a way that most Americans have lost. For Bonar, nature is a sacred path toward a more meaningful existence. His quest is to help others recognize that truth before the remainder of nature’s great temples are bulldozed for freeways, housing developments and strip malls.” Timothy McGettigan, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, Colorado State University-Pueblo

“Kent Bonar has been described as the John Muir or Aldo Leopold of our time. He lives with his hunting dogs in the Ozarks devoting himself to describing and studying the biota of his surroundings. His philosophy is the main subject of this documentary. The film quality and cinematography are excellent, and watching it was a peaceful and refreshing experience. It may serve to begin discussions about environmentalism, or the importance of not only taking inventory of organisms, but also studying how those organisms interact with one another (what Mr. Bonar refers to as, ‘seeing the connections beyond the names’).” Educational Media Reviews Online

“Fascinating. His simple life, his profound relationship with the natural world, his startling attention to every detail of the forests and his relentless battle to protect them make Kent Bonar a unique exception in a world where conservation is so often the pragmatic conclusion of a battle between preservation and commercialism.” Black Bear Film Festival

“Through his lens, Hawes-Davis unveils the jaw-dropping depth and breadth of Bonar’s factual knowledge and reveals the man’s wisdom, as Bonar espouses his philosophies on the essentiality of communion with nature.” All Movie Guide

“Hawes-Davis’s rendering of Ozark naturalist Kent Bonar brings nature at the landscape level alive and asks us to consider how we balance our pragmatic self interests with reverence for creation. The result is a fascinating, informative, thoughtful and personally challenging documentary.” Tom Roy, PhD. Director, Environmental Studies Program, University of Montana

“THE NATURALIST moves Hawes-Davis beyond his previous accomplishments. The film brilliantly captures and portrays the spirit of the ‘modern-day Thoreau’ in the forest, at work and at play. This is a story about the intricacies of the natural world and human nature and their relationships.” Call of the Wild

“The film unfolds like a long walk through the woods, to show the remarkable depth of this strange man’s knowledge, and his obsession with living things, from the birds that he calls up, to the tiny insects and the mosses beneath the log he sits on to rest at the end of the day. THE NATURALIST is the story of a man, but its larger story is that of that rare creature, the inhabitant, intimate with all that is around it, deeply entrenched, thoroughly dangerous to modern notions of carelessness and frenzied mobility.”  Mountain Gazette   (read full review)

“THE NATURALIST is a top quality documentary about a man who is a naturalist to every degree. This video documents the work and philosophies of this extraordinary woodsman. His name is Kent Bonar and except for the company of a couple dozen hound dogs, millions of plants and creatures on thousands of square miles of rugged, thickly forested hills, he lives and works almost exclusively alone.” North American Bowhunter   (read full review)

“Kent Bonar is a man who has spent most of his life traveling the Ozarks in Missouri and Arkansas on foot. He has examined the plant and animal life there, made extensive illustrations of the plants, leaves, seeds, and insects that belong to the region, and devoted his life to the continued study of the Ozarks and its natural dynamics. He is a man who has made a commitment that few can understand and even fewer would consider accepting.” The Dog Pile   (read full review)

“Excellent…Kent Bonar’s knowledge of the Ozark biota is legendary. Described as the ‘John Muir of the Ozarks’ and a modern-day Thoreau, Bonar explores his bioregion with a precision and patience that is inspiring.”  Pulse  (read full review)

“THE NATURALIST is expertly filmed and edited; highly recommended for general collections.” Library Journal  (read full review)

“THE NATURALIST reveals the many layers of one man’s understanding of divine nature.”  Branches  (read full review)

“Kent Bonar, an eccentric naturalist who was once called the John Muir of the Ozarks, has helped slow the decline of a national forest.” Little Rock Free Press  (read full review)

“In addition to using purely observational techniques, Hawes-Davis and Carr also incorporate interviews, archival footage, incidental music, and other elements to allow greater exploration of intellectual ideas and concepts.” The Ryder  (read full review)