Can you tell the difference between a swift, a swallow and a house martin? Do you know your bullfinch from your chaffinch? Or could you identify a great crested newt if one popped up in your garden?
Despite research showing that children who have a healthy connection to nature are more likely to benefit from better physical and mental health, do well at school, and develop stronger social skills, people in Scotland are becoming less familiar with the wildlife living on their doorsteps.
With the summer holidays upon us, now is the time to remedy that and RSPB Scotland is calling on the nation to get up, get out, and get reacquainted with the fascinating creatures living all around us. To help, the conservation charity is offering half price entry to three of its ‘great for families’ reserves: Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross, Loch Garten near Aviemore, and Lochwinnoch just outside Glasgow.
All three sites have an engaging programme of family activities and events running over the next few weeks to reconnect children with nature, including mini-beast safaris, rock pooling, and building hedgehog cafes – all of which can be counted towards one of the RSPB’s Wild Challenge awards.
Jasper Hamlet, youth and families officer for RSPB Scotland, said: “Connecting to nature should be a key part of any kid’s childhood, experiencing for themselves what a worm feels like or learning how a plant grows. The country’s wildlife and the habitats that they depend on will benefit too, as children who have adventures outdoors; who feel, smell and explore nature, and build up an emotional attachment to it, are much more likely to want to protect and conserve it in future.
“At RSPB Scotland we want to make sure that every child has the opportunity to get out and enjoy the natural world, so we’re offering half price entry to three of our reserves this summer to help families on their way. We’re also encouraging people to sign up for Wild Challenge and see where the adventure takes them!”
RSPB Scotland’s half price reserve entry offer runs until August 31. To download a half price family voucher and learn more about the three reserves included in the initiative, visit www.rspb.org.uk/familyfun.