Time to return to the countryside generation
We have suspected as much for years. Now we have the proof. Children are less connected to nature and wildlife today than they have ever been.
The survey, by the RSPB, that reveals only 21 per cent of UK children have any connection to nature that can be considered "realistic and achievable" must act as a wake-up call to everyone who has an interest in preserving a vibrant and well-protected countryside.
It is a cliche but it is true – children are the future. It is their hopes and fears, interests and concerns that will shape the way things develop and change in the years ahead.
In times past youngsters who spent their lives out of doors, watching wildlife, exploring the countryside and forming close bonds with their surroundings, grew up to appreciate all that they valued in those early days.
FREE home energy survey - BEAT THE ENERGY PRICE CRUNCH!View details
Call us on 01271 323309 and book your FREE home energy survey during December. Let us help you reduce your energy bills as well as your carbon footprint.
Valid until 20th Dec 2013
Consultation is completely free
No obligation and impartial advice
Contact: 01271 440974
Valid until: Friday, December 20 2013
Without that introduction to the wild things around them, how many will form those bonds with the natural world today?
Of course children's interests develop as they grow. But a love of nature is unique in that it is so often forged in childhood and develops as an adult.
Miss out on that vital, joyful moment of discovery and there are too many reasons in the busy years of early adulthood, to never get into the habit of appreciating the countryside and all that it has to offer.
Part of the problem, we suggest, is the way today's youngsters are encouraged to see the countryside around them as something to look at but never touch. Collecting birds eggs, picking and pressing wild flowers, catching and displaying butterflies and moths are all either illegal or frowned upon today. Yet they – along with fishing for sticklebacks, shooting rabbits with an airgun for the pot and setting traps for bugs and other creatures – were all part of childhood for many even just a few decades ago.
In some cases those practices – with an eye on current legislation and the preservation of endangered species, of course – ought still to be possible. Country sports organisations, for example, are doing their bit to teach children to shoot and to fish, both of which give young people huge appreciation of nature and the countryside.
Nature watching – through ever more dramatic wildlife programmes – is no substitute for getting your hands dirty out in the field, feeling the sun on your back the rain running down your neck and the frost turning your fingers numb. These are the joyful realities of countryside life.
It is this which we must encourage.