National Trust Finds Getting Kids Into Nature Starts at Home
SWINDON, England, September 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
The National Trust has revealed that parents need more support to make the outdoors a
part of everyday family life to avoid rearing a generation completely cut off from the
The Natural Childhood Inquiry – which sought submissions from experts and the public
on the barriers and the solutions for children’s connection with nature – found that
children’s love of nature is best started in the home.
The Inquiry follows on from a national childhood report
[http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/servlet/file/store5/item823323/version1/Natural ChildhoodBrochure.pdf ]
for the National Trust by award winning nature author and wildlife TV
producer Stephen Moss, published in March, which documented children’s declining
connection with the outdoors and nature.
Inquiry respondents said parents need more access to family-friendly, green and
natural spaces, as well as more opportunities for children to enjoy nature.
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust
[http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk ], said: “It is clear from the huge public response that
our Natural Childhood report struck a chord with the nation.
“Parents want their children to have a better connection with nature, but they don’t
feel completely confident in how to make that happen in a safe and stimulating way.
“Our inquiry showed that there is widespread agreement that this is an important issue
and that now is the time to act. The worlds of conservation, government, education and
child welfare need to work together with families and communities to find solutions.”
The Inquiry however recognised that there were some big barriers to a closer
relationship with nature. These include excessive health and safety rules, the rise of
indoor entertainment competing for children’s time and attention, traffic dangers,
over-stuffed school days, and the poor quality and accessibility of green and natural
spaces in many communities.
Research with children and parents commissioned by the National Trust to accompany the
publication of the inquiry findings strongly validates these conclusions.
A YouGov survey* of 419 UK parents of under 13s revealed that a range of parental
fears and concerns could be preventing children from getting the most of the great
outdoors [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/big-issues/the-great-outdoors ].
Stranger danger (37%), lack of safe nearby outdoor places to play (25%) and too much
traffic (21%) were the top ranked barriers amongst parents of children aged 12 or under.
Just short of half (45 per cent) of parents of pre-teens identified ‘more local safe
places to play’ as the thing which would most encourage them to let their children get
outdoors and explore more where they lived. The other two top solutions supported by
parents were ‘more supervised play spaces’ (32%) and ‘more activities organised by schools
or youth groups’ (31%).
As part of its response to the lack of connection between kids and nature the National
Trust launched its 50 Things to do before you’re 11 3/4
[http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/news/view-page/item804841 ] campaign in May.
More than 250 Trust places took part and in the first two months more than 200,000
activity scrapbooks given away and nearly 20,000 users registered on the 50 Things
Notes to editors:
*The total sample size of the parents study, conducted by YouGov Plc., was 2072 adults
of which 419 were parents of children aged 12 and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between
10th and 12th September. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted
and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
**Current supporters of the Natural Childhood Summit and partners in the campaign are
Arla Food, Britdoc, Green Lions, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Play England, Play
Wales and Playboard Northern Ireland.
About The National Trust:
The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of
coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For
more information and ideas for great value family days out go to:
PR Contact: Mike Collins The National Trust Heelis Kemble Drive Swindon SN2 2NA +44(0)1793-817709 http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
SOURCE The National Trust