You’ll already know if you read Cardiff Mummy Says regularly that we love getting outdoors. We’re so lucky here in Cardiff to have so many beautiful outdoor places to visit, many of them for free. Despite living in a city, there are so many parks, rivers and woodland walks for us to explore, and beaches and mountains within easy access too.
I love seeing my children’s faces as they collect leaves, spot a bird or a beetle, watch a squirrel darting up a tree, or get covered in mud. The simple pleasures really are the best.
So when the people at RSPB Cymru told me last week that just one in eight children in Wales is ‘connected’ to nature, that figure completely stopped me in my tracks.
In fact, children in Wales score lower than anywhere else in the UK when it comes to interacting with nature, despite the fact we have some of the most beautiful beaches, countryside and national parks in the world.
RSPB Cymru are doing their best to change this, bringing opportunities for children to get closer to nature to every school and community in Cardiff. I’m working with them to help promote their Giving Nature A Home in Cardiff project, in the hope you can spare a moment or two to answer some simple questions so that they can continue the amazing work they do.
RSPB Cymru’s Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project is already engaging thousands of children and their families with nature in Cardiff. The organisation runs free outreach sessions in primary schools in the city, free activities for families, and some truly memorable experiences – such as Tape, last summer’s giant spider’s web installation at Bute Park – to help them develop a lasting relationship with nature.
Nearly 15% of children in Wales live in severe poverty with regards to their education, health, intellectual access, opportunity and experience – the lowest level in the UK outside of London.
Yet there is much evidence to suggest the positive impacts contact with nature has for children, as well as the environment. These include educational benefits, contribution to physical and mental well being and development of personal and social skills.
RSPB Cymru’s current project is funded until 2017, in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council, and funded by Tesco customers through the Welsh carrier bag levy.
However, the organisation is calling on the people of Cardiff to let them know what they would like to see and do as it seeks to secure funding for the next five years of its project.
The survey is really simple and will take you less than two minutes to complete. You don’t have to be a parent to complete the survey – RSPB would love to hear from individuals too, so please do share with anyone else you think might be interested.
RSPB also has a survey for schools – so if you are a teacher or learning support assistant, it would be great if you ask your school to respond to the survey too.
Please do share this survey with anyone else you think would be interested.
If you have any thoughts on being connected with nature, then do include them in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy and RSPB on @RSPBCymru
For example, are there places you regularly visit to engage with nature? Or what puts you off spending more time in natural surroundings? RSPB would love to hear your opinions.
And if that’s inspired you to get outdoors, here are some of our favourite free places to visit in and around Cardiff.
*This post is a collaboration with RSPB Cymru