Children and young adults getting out into nature is a fabulous thing, we all know that. There are a growing number of respected reports that tell us it improves physical and mental health, builds creativity and reduces stress but it is also something that many of us just feel we know intuitively. How many of your favourite childhood memories start with phrases like, “we were in a wood and...” or “we were at the park and...”
At the same time chances for children to regularly be in nature are decreasing, for example, the roads between our homes and local greenspaces are busier and it is getting easier for trips out to become less frequent and seem more of a chore. This all leads to the other side of the coin that if children have fewer exciting experiences with wildlife and do not build a relationship with the natural world why would they want to protect it in the future? As David Attenborough said “No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
Both of these reasons are why we at the Wildlife Trust are passionate about giving children more chances to be outdoors - quite simply our children need nature and it needs them! One of the main ways we do this is through our Wildlife Watch and Tots Groups. For well over 15 years we have run these regular kids clubs where families can come and get some quality time in nature, with a local Wildlife Trust Watch Leader on hand to suggest fun activities or identify that bug you've just found! These clubs are tried and tested ways for young people to meet and fall in love with the natural world. We know this because some of our current members of staff used to attend.