Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Urban children can’t see trees for the leaves
April 29 2005
CITY life has left most of Britain's children unable to identify the leaves of the most common native trees, according to a survey published yesterday. Children in Scotland fared worst in the report by the Woodland Trust, which paints a depressing picture of children hanging about the streets when – by their own admission – they would rather be roaming woods, parks and fields. But, in one of Europe's least wooded countries, they have lost touch with nature to the extent that they are unable to identify trees such as oak and ash.
The trust, a conservation charity, set out to discover the attitudes and interaction with the environment of Britain's seven to 14-year-olds. They found that one in seven children never played in the countryside with their friends.
They were worried about the destruction of the UK's environment, but nearly two thirds had not been taught about it at school. The survey revealed that when shown the pictures of leaves from UK trees, most children could not even guess what tree they belonged to, with 94% of children unable to identify common native trees.
Bottom of the pile were birch and hazel, with only 4% of children identifying them correctly. This was closely followed by beech (5%) and ash (6%). Recognition of the field maple (9%) and horse chestnut (17%) fared slightly better. The oak, one of Britain's most recognisable trees, was only identified by a fifth (20%) of children.
Helped by its Christmas role, holly came out top with more than half (54%) of those questioned recognising its leaves.
From: The Herald
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