A recent study by BBC Wildlife Magazine, revealed startling information concerning the growing distance between the natural world and the world of children being raised in the 21st century. The survey revealed children have lost touch with the natural world and are unable to even identify common animals and plants. The study indicated that playing in the countryside was children’s least popular way of spending their spare time, and they would rather see friends or play on their computer than go for a walk or play outdoors. Less than two-thirds(62%) were able to identify a frog and only 12% knew what a primrose was. About 45% could identify an oak tree while 42% mistook a newt for a lizard.
Sir Richard Attenborough warned “the wild world is becoming so remote to children that they miss out.. and an interest in the natural world doesn’t grow as it should. Nobody is going to protect the natural world unless they understand it.” many experts blame the widening gulf between children and nature to over-protective parents and the hostility of conservationists who fear children will damage the environment. There is less exposure to free play in the natural world than what occurred in past history.
Dr. Martin Maudsey, of Playwork Partnerships, notes “something magical occurs when children and wild space mix.” I was raised in the slums of the south Bronx in New York City but like most of my friends spent hours wandering through parks seeing the natural world of animals. In the history of humanity, many brilliant ideas emerged from a human making a connection between the natural world and a problem being confronted.