Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Children and Nature

I've been reading a lot recently about the importance of children spending time in nature so that they become interested in conservation when they're older.

(It seems to me that a lot of teenagers are interested in the carbon footprint reduction aspect of environmentalism but perhaps fewer are interested in conservation of wildlife and wild places, which would fit with my overall perception of the general public's attitude to the environment these days).

People's arguments are that how can children grow up to protect nature if they don't learn to love it? And how can children learn to love nature if they don't spend lots of time outdoors getting muddy and looking for bugs, plants and animal tracks?

I totally agree with all of that. I think it's more vital than ever that children are out there, experiencing nature.

However, it's interesting that when I was growing up, I almost never played outside except in the back garden of the house where my parents still live (which is nice and big and has a wild patch at the bottom but it's still a domesticated garden). Although we had regular day trips and holidays to relatively rural places, I wasn't encouraged to actually explore the great outdoors and certainly never ran wild. My knowledge of wildlife was for a long time based largely on what I read in books.

And look what happened to me!

*
I'm taking a wee blog break - back early next week!

11 comments:

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Well my knowledge of wildlife or so is based on episodes, here's three I now remember: stopping my bike on a tarmac road and taking a hedgehog in my hand who was crossing very slowly and laying it on the other side on the grass.

Taking a lamb in my arms on Achill Land, who looked lost and was crying his throat off...I kept walking along the coast not finding anywhere his owner...

Dismounting from the horse on a path in Donegal to disentangle a sheep knotted in barbwire, it took me half an hour, in the rain. I felt supremely accomplished when she hopped away, although a bit lame and bloodied.

eileeninmd said...

It would be nice to see more children outside enjoying nature. I think it is hard to drag them away from the games they play in the TV and internet. Enjoy your week off!

Titus said...

I wonder if it's genetic then!

Ms Sparrow said...

I find my enthusiasm for wildlife and the environment increase as I get older. My flock of turkeys are a joy along with all the other animals that frequent the wooded lot.

Rabbits' Guy said...

I suppose you can't always know what triggers what.
Mostly I believe it is important for youngsters to come to understand that what they experience in nature is real, while books, tv, shops, movies, talk, news, etc. is not real. I am not sure how that understanding happens. But seeing and watching and learing about - for example - clouds certainly helps drive the point home.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for this ... I keep meaning to write about my childhood experiences with the natural world! When you return to your blog, Juliet, you might enjoy this post by Adam Tilt ...

Karen M said...

At least you did have the garden, and those rural trips. So many kids these days never get near anything natural. When my kids were growing up, their classmates liked to visit our house, because I was the only mom who would actually let them get dirty! So many older kids are actually afraid of nature, finding it icky. Such a sad state....

EG CameraGirl said...

How interesting that you learned to love nature through books. Just goes to show that every person is different. ;))

the cuby poet said...

I grew up on the edge of The edge of The Mendips, limestone hills in the north of Somerset where I spent hours roaming with fiends on our own.
I it also where I started to learn about nature from my parents and have loved it ever since even though I have lived in many places in England.
Your blog covers so much about your love for the natural world.
Thank you.

P. M. Doolan said...

i wonder if you have heard of Forest kindergartens? My youngest child went to kindergarten in the forest for two years, between ages four and six. No building whatsoever, no roof or heating or toilet. Just a msall clearing in the forest. Rain, snow or sunshine, everday they spent in the forest. She thrived.

Christina said...

I think some people just feel that connection and it starts early.

Enjoy your break.