I read a report last week, carried out by the RSPB, uncovering how ‘connected to nature’ our children are. I found the results quite alarming.
The national results show that currently only 21 per cent of 8–12 year olds have a connection to nature level that the RSPB consider a realistic and achievable target for all children. One in five children seems appallingly low to me.
It got me thinking about my children, and how ‘connected’ they are, though they’re of course much younger than 8. We get outside as often as we can, most dry days we’ll be found in a park, or the garden, and when we spend this time together we talk about the nature around us.
For example, last weekend, the husband informed me that it would stay dry until 4pm, according to the BBC weather forecast, so we ‘d be fine to go to the park for the afternoon! Now, if you’re wondering, it did stay dry, until 4.22, when the rain came lashing down – not bad, the BBC, not bad! Great, a dry day, we must get to the park, was our first reaction. Hopefully, that in itself is a step closer to ‘connecting’. And what did we do there?
First off, we visited the little nature centre that they have there..
Boo climbed all manner of fences and trees, and even Little Man shouted until he could be sat upon a branch, too 🙂
We crunched through leaves, inspected the greenery (brownery?!) around us, looked up at the trees and talked about the names of each tree whilst having fun.
We fed the ducks. At first, there were 3-4 of them there, and then a few minutes later, we were practically surrounded!
Boo ran in mud, jumped in puddles, and the two of them stared at streams, trampled through the woods, and just ran, and ran!
It was a fairly typical outing, with chats about the birds we spotted and excitement at any squirrel sightings, too. We collected a few twigs, leaves, acorns and fir cones along the way, as there always has to be a nature haul!
I believe that trips like this makes us connected. I know that it feels important to do this as a family, and moreover, it feels enjoyable, relaxing, and healthy to do this as a family. The children are 4 and 1. As they grow, I’d imagine that these trips will become more chaotic, more adventurous and the education gleaned from just chats and observations can become more comprehensive. And then they’ll grow some more, and maybe gadgets, TV, computers will try to keep them inside more – is this the problem? It’ll be a bridge to cross when we get there, but even if we just all get out for an hour a week, we will remain connected to nature. Why wouldn’t we when we can all have so much fun in doing so?! Now, I don’t profess to know all that much about the nature around us, but then that’s all part of it, making discoveries together and coming home and looking things up to find out what we’ve seen.
Do get involved, and Get Outdoors. Take the short survey to find out how connected you are, and then tweet them with what you’re up to and share your photos with them. Help get the message out there that this is important, and this is fun.
How connected do you think your family is?