Every Child Wild

Friday 13th November 2015

The Wildlife Trusts have launched a new campaign – Every Child Wild – in a bid to ensure that all children have the opportunity to enjoy nature.

Results from a new YouGov poll, commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts, highlight the discrepancy between what parents think is best for children and what they actually experience. The poll reveals that while 91% of parents of children aged 18 and under think that having access to nature and wildlife is important for children, 78% of parents are concerned that children don’t spend enough time interacting with nature and wildlife.

The poll also reveals that: 57% of parents said their children spend a little less or a lot less time outdoors than they did; more than half (53%) of children have never seen a flock of Starlings and more than a third (37%) have never seen a Hedgehog. Less than half (46%) of the children said they had been to a place in the wild with their school to learn about wildlife in the past year.

Lucy McRobert, The Wildlife Trusts’ Nature Matters campaign manager, said: “First-hand contact with nature is good for children. It makes them happier, healthier and more creative. For some it can have a life-changing impact.

“But there’s a gap between what society intuitively knows is best for children and what they’re actually getting. This is partly due to the changes in our everyday lives and partly due to diminishing opportunities: wild places are vanishing and some wild animals have declined massively over the past 50 years.”

Sir David Attenborough, President Emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We will be physically, mentally and spiritually impoverished if our children are deprived of contact with the natural world. Contact with nature should not be the preserve of the privileged. It is critical to the personal development of our children.”

Over the next year Essex Wildlife Trust and other Wildlife Trusts are inviting individuals, parents, teachers, schools and organisations to share their ideas on what needs to happen to put the wild back into childhood. Every Child Wild offers top practical tips for successful family adventures, inspiration from young people with a passion for nature and much more, including:

  • a new Every Wild Child report, with insights gathered from a poll asking parents and children about wild experiences during childhood
  • The Art of Getting Children outdoors: A Practical Guide to Family Adventures, offering practical ideas for parents to inspire children to get outdoors, by Jen and Sim Benson from
  • a podcast with five young people, aged 10-16, discussing what it’s like growing up with a passion for nature
  • daily blogs on The Wildlife Trusts’ website throughout November from well-known wildlife champions, children, parents, teachers and others on ideas for reconnecting children and nature
  • Short surveys for teachers and parents (and anyone else) to share ideas for reconnecting children with nature at home and at school.

Essex Wildlife Trust has a thriving education programme, for children of all ages, including via its visitor centres, visits to schools, outdoor learning and Forest School. It runs more than 500 education courses each year, with direct contact with more than 50,000 students.

“We hope Every Child Wild will get people talking and sharing ideas about how we can all help to put the wild back in childhood,” Emma Sauntson, Education & Community Manager at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “We need to empower families, teachers and schools to ensure children have access to nature and to engage with it on a regular basis. Together, we are all nurturing the next generation of naturalists, animal-lovers, birdwatchers, explorers, scientists, campaigners and politicians, to try to slow the decline of nature.”

For more information about Every Child Wild and to get involved in the campaign, go to: www.wildlifetrusts.org/everychildwild Every Child Wild is part of The Wildlife Trusts’ wider My Wild Life campaign to communicate what nature means to people and its value to society. It aims to highlight both how disconnected UK children are from nature, and work The Wildlife Trusts are doing to reverse this.

Essex Wildlife Trust runs 10 visitor centres and manages 87 nature reserves and two nature parks in Essex. Discover the wonderful wildlife and wild places on your doorstep, with our ‘Passport to wild Essex

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