We’ve launched an exciting new campaign in partnership with Wildlife Trusts across the country called ‘Every Child Wild’. It focuses on reconnecting children with wildlife and making nature part of growing up for every child.
Studies by The Wildlife Trust show that over the last 40 years children have become increasingly separated from nature. Over that period of time, the number of children who walk to school has dropped by 70 per cent and the number of children who play in natural areas fell by 30 per cent.
Along with the overall majority of parents we believe that a childhood separated from nature is a diminished experience. Not only are children deprived of the wonder of a butterfly’s wing or the smell of a forest after rain; there are also grave risks to physical and mental health.
A study showed that living within a kilometre of a green space reduces the risk of 15 major illnesses, particularly anxiety and depression, and even more so for children. There is also compelling evidence that children who grow up with nature are more likely to protect it when they are older.
The ‘Every Child Wild’ campaign is about challenging us all to do more to ensure wildlife plays a big part in all children’s life. Across the country, we work with more than 300,000 children via school visits and events. However we must, and can do more.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be laying out some of our plans on how we can achieve the four fundamental elements of this campaign that every child has the right to:
• Explore the natural world where they live
• Develop a personal connection with nature from an early age
• Live within safe walking distance of a local green space
• Learn about total reliance on nature at school.
We encourage you to share your thoughts on how we can achieve these aims as well as sharing your top tips on helping young people explore our county’s wildlife.