A marine biologist and bestselling author is in Carbondale as part of a series of documentaries he's making on the power of water.
Wallace J. Nichols' is basing the series on his book entitled Blue Mind, which examines the effects of water on our health and well-being.
He is interviewing southern Illinoisans about the impact of the Carbondale Super Splash Park Outdoor Aquatics Center to include in his documentary series. Nichols says he's learning how the presence of the water park is changing the community in positive ways.
"You've got people who are managing their arthritis or managing their stress by going into this pool as often as possible. You've got teachers who are taking kids. Moms and dads are bringing their kids, teaching them to swim. You've got kids who are teaching their parents to swim for the first time."
Nichols says Carbondale is a great example for communities thinking about building a pool or for those thinking about getting rid of a watering hole.
He says asking people about their experiences in or around water often brings out emotional responses.
"They think of important people in their lives...their teachers, their mentors, their coaches, their parents, their aunts and uncles in a different way. We realize water really - from birth through death - marks important moments in our lives."
Carbondale Park District executive director Kathy Renfro is sitting in on the interviews. She says everyone has a unique story to tell...including herself.
"I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. That was our playground. I think as a child you think everybody has the same life you have, right? Then, you get out into the world and you realize some people have never had that opportunity."
Renfro helped spearhead the 10-year effort to build the aquatics center. She says being a part of the documentary is exciting.
"We feel honored to be part of a bigger conversation, not only nationally, but all the way around the world. Water is certainly one of our most precious resources."
The documentary series is scheduled to debut at a yet to be determined online outlet during the first quarter of 2018.