A Big Schools Birdwatch session at Lawdale Junior School, London © Eleanor Bentall
Connecting Children with Nature, a partnership between the RSPB and Aldi, questioned the children taking part in its outdoor activities, and found that 85 per cent wanted to spend more time exploring the natural world.
An overwhelming majority of school teachers agreed that the children participating in the outdoor sessions had increased in confidence.
“Children will always remember their first discoveries when getting wild in nature,” says Martyn Foster, head of education, families and youth for the RSPB. “We know from past research that children aren’t spending the same amount of time in nature as their parents and grandparents did, and this is something we want to change.”
“With the positive impact nature has on children’s learning, physical health and emotional wellbeing it is more important than ever that we are helping young people to experience, learn and value the natural world.”
Children doing the Big Schools Birdwatch at school © David McHugh
A range of recent research has shown that the amount of time spent outside by children is declining.
The RSPB’s Connection to Nature report in 2013 found that only one in five children in the UK were ‘connected to nature’.
Last year, The Wild Network published a study that showed that three-quarters of children spend less time outside in nature than prison inmates, while a government report from last year found that 10 per cent of children had not stepped foot in a natural setting in the previous 12 months.
School children at the opening of RSPB Newport Wetlands Centre © Wales News Service