Help MWT Keep Every Child Wild
Monday 16th January 2017
© Debs Richardson Bull
Outdoor learning is important for child development and overall well-being. Help Manx Wildlife Trust keep every child wild in three simple ways.
Last year The Wildlife Trusts produced a report, which looked into children’s contact with nature, and the results made for disturbing reading. The overall findings were that over the last 40 years, children have become more separated from nature. In 1915 children’s roaming range was 6 miles; today, in the UK it is only 300 yards. Fewer than 10% of children in the UK play in natural areas, compared to 40% when their parents were children. In 1971 80% of children walked to school whereas in 1991 it was 10%. These statistics are shocking, especially when the advantages of outdoor play are widely known to increase self esteem, make you happier and healthier, increase creative skills.
Wait, hang on - have you noticed all these statistics are UK based ones? How can we be sure the same trends happening here on the Island? After all we are a more rural community, aren’t we? Well, Manx Wildlife Trust wants to find out if the Island is following suit or bucking the trend, and we have launched an online survey to find out.
You can have a say in helping us plan the future of the Islands natural spaces by visiting them and by filling out this 10 minute questionnaire. We are asking anyone and everyone who gets out on the Island to complete the survey, and who knows you might even win a £10 gift voucher for the Manx Wildlife Shop in Peel.
Our Work Beyond the Survey
In the meantime, Manx Wildlife Trust has a very active programme for engaging children with nature: we support learning in the Manx schools, taking field trips and giving talks and advice, with our Biodiversity Education Officer role being partly funded by DEFA and DEC. MWT also runs a children’s club called Wildlife Watch in which once a month children are brought out into nature for events that focus on having fun and learning about Manx wildlife. They also receive three magazines a year filled with interesting facts about wildlife, posters and more.
During the summer months WATCH members gain access to our summer adventure pass which includes den building, lizard watching, rock pooling to name but a few exciting activities. During the winter, events have included creating wormeries, learning about jellyfish, learning about stoats and meeting some ferrets face to face. So, if your child loves to get messy, soaks up facts about wildlife, and loves to be active then why not join them into WATCH?
Our latest project to encourage kids and the whole family outdoors is to create the Island’s largest eco-playground, known as Ramsey Eco-Active. Currently under construction, Eco-Active will become a 60 acre nature reserve and play trail with exciting feratures, such as a logstacle course, snail fort (pictured right), and more to engage children and adults alike with the outdoors. The project has made great progress thanks to funding from Tesco Bags of Help and the hard work of many enthusiastic volunteers. If you’d like more information or to get involved, contact Project Manager Andree Dubbeldam on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Top © Dawn Dickens; Bottom © Lara Howe