ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – With poles in hands Normandy students are returning from a group fishing trip to the Busch Memorial Conservation Area. But, a new worldwide poll is raising some eyebrows.
“What we found was that as kids go from young pre-school age to their teens we see a decreasing amount of time spent in nature,” says Todd Sampsell, the Missouri state director of the Nature Conservancy.
Disney and The Nature Conservancy polled parents around the world. Working in the U.S., China, France, Hong Kong and Brazil they asked how much time children spend in nature. The answer was next to nil.
“Especially in the U.S. a lot of parents sited things like, ‘It’s too hot’ or ‘too buggy’ or ‘too uncomfortable too be outside,” says Sampsell. “I think that’s really a shame.”
The poll asked parents of children between the ages of three to 18 questions that show a growing global concern. More children are honed in on their hand held devices and electronics than mother nature.
Spending time outdoors ranked second only to reading in order of importance for parents.
“One of the things we know is that if we don’t instill in out children an appreciation for nature we have a hard time having them lead the charge for needing to protect our clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and open space in the future,” says Sampsell.
The study also found while pre-schoolers spend 12 hours a week outdoors, by the time a u.s. teen turns 16, they’re only outside for seven or less hours in a week.
And that’s not nearly enough for 82% of parents around the world.
“It’s been said we treat this planet as if we have another one to go to and we certainly don’t,” says Sampsell.